April 2021 God is Alive!

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is a powerful reminder that God is not dead. God is alive!

For many of us the great turning point in life was when we came to a realisation that God really is alive and that we can get to know him. The total Easter message is that God is for us and that God is with us. God has not abandoned us on this planet and we are not alone in the universe.

The fact that God not only exists but is alive has profound implications for our lives and for the world. God has a will and he is actively involved in all of life here on earth. He is not an aloof or distant heavenly parent but fully engaged in the life of his creation and his creatures including us.

As an atheist I didn’t believe in any God or life beyond the grave. This world was my total reality and I rejected my inherited religion of cultural Christianity. That was until one day when I had a transformative experience of a power greater than myself. I knew from that point on that that there was a higher power and it wasn’t long before I was able to name him as God.

That was when the reality of God came alive for me. Of course, God wasn’t dead just because I didn’t believe in him. But he was dead to me in the sense that I had ruled him out of my life so that I could get on and live the way I wanted to. I am glad that God enabled me to come out of that place of unbelief and defiance. That is the grace of God in action reaching into our so-called private worlds and bringing us out into a spacious place where we can receive his light and his love.

On Good Friday this world tried to kill God. They crucified him, dead and buried but on the third day he rose again from the dead and he is alive. Jesus is alive and through our faith in him we too can be raised from the dead, spiritually in the present and physically in the future.

Rev. Dr. Christopher Noble – Rector
St Mary’s Stansted with Fairseat and Vigo

March 2021 – A New Beginning

As winter recedes with the days getting longer and lighter there are many promising signs of the good things to come. As it says in the Song of Solomon:

‘For behold the winter is passed; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.’ (Songs 2.11-12)

It is our sincere hope and prayer that as this winter season passes the time of singing will return as we begin to worship together after lockdown. We will never again take for granted the privilege and joy of singing together in church and out of church. Never could we have imagined in a month of Sundays that we would be banned from singing!

I am looking forward to making the announcement that ‘the time of singing has come’ after such a long-time of abstinence. Our musical differences and tastes will fall away. We probably won’t care too much about the song, what will matter is that we can open our mouths and proclaim the glory of the Lord with ‘hearts and hands and voices.’

In preparation for the big day of vocal celebration I am just arranging for the church organ to be tuned but I would like your help in the form of some hymn suggestions. In fact, I would like you to email me your top 4 hymns for us to return to singing with. I will prepare a top 10 or 20 from your suggestions so that we are ready to hit the ground singing.

In the mean time we will have to sit out our virtual or ‘physical’ church services in monastic silence relying on the Rectors phone music library for the sounds. Needless to say, all our arrangement including the return to song are in the air until we get the go ahead from No 10. Until then the voice of the turtle doves will have to suffice and we can practice our hymnody in the bath with the loofah as a microphone if we so wish!

Rev Dr Christopher Noble – Rector
St Mary’s Stansted with Fairseat and Vigo