On Wednesday evening I would normally be at house group, but this week we had a local preachers’ meeting. I could not resist this photo opportunity tonight, as Gill and Paul, our Superintendent Minister, dealt with a spillage of tea all over the carpet and the tray!
We started, as we often do, with tea and conversation, then moved into a time of exploring some of the less familiar Advent hymns in our hymn book, Singing the Faith. It is all too easy to stick to choosing hymns we know. We discovered different, challenging words, many of which were pertinent to much of what we are seeing and hearing on the news.
Before we moved into the business part of the meeting we prayed. For Aleppo. For Yemen. For the unimaginable horror of life in parts of the world where the expectation of Christmas is not of cosy family celebration, but of fear for safety, of the very real threat of loss of life, of minute by minute uncertainty about the future.
The fourth verse of Peter Relf’s hymn, Singing the Faith 220, challenges us with these words:
Songs that paint a cosy Christmas
miss the truth of God above!
See how God, rejected, homeless,
came a child with wide-eyed love.
Love transforms and brings release!
Love brings justice, joy and peace!
As we watch the images on our television screens tonight we cannot, we must not, give up working and praying for that transformation and release – for justice, joy and peace.