As the coronavirus outbreak continues we continue to feature regular video messages from the Bishops and Archdeacons on our Diocesan YouTube channel.
All messages have been well received and you can still view all the past messages on the channel here.
Our latest weekly message is from The Venerable David Picken, Archdeacon of Lancaster. The full text can be read below the embedded video. You can also download it for printing here.
We know of many parishes providing information in printed form and sending via Royal Mail to parishioners who are not able to get online. If your parish is doing that, why not add these weekly messages to your future mailings?
We are close to that time in the Church’s year (indeed a new year) when we are watching and waiting in Advent and preparing for the coming of Jesus.
This year, this feels particularly in tune with the mood of the nation. I am recording this in the middle of the week when we have heard that the most recent lockdown will soon end. However, we are also aware that it will be replaced by a new tier system of restriction. Which tier will we be in? We watch and wait to find out.
Of course, that is nothing directly to do with Advent. However, serendipitously this falls at the time of the year when we begin Advent and the time of watching and waiting. This is both for the celebration of the coming of the Christ Child and that great reality of Incarnation, so much at the heart of the gospel and also the sense of Jesus returning again, in great glory ‘to judge the living and the dead’.
The Creed we espouse reminds us that at this time we watch and wait to see the signs of God’s presence, both in the everyday lives we live, incarnated so to speak, and also in the promise of a life beyond this earthly one.
This is such a key part of the Advent message of hope, a message we need to hear and pass on right now. Most of us will look forward to the dark days of winter with a heaviness, knowing that it is likely to be a time of restriction for all and illness and maybe even death for people we know. Without the Advent hope of the coming of the Promised One, that could feel very gloomy indeed.
So, with all in our nation and our world we watch and hope for a brighter future. Promising signs come with the development of vaccines which, we hope and pray, will deliver an end to the pandemic. For those of us who keep Advent we have a time like no other to recall the importance of watching and waiting for what we believe will be the freedoms brought by the spring, It is certainly good news that from 3 December we are able to worship publicly again. In fellowship, word, and sacrament we are sustained by God’s gift and one another as we watch and wait. How good it will be to be able to keep Advent together in this way. For all of us, even if we are unable to go to worship there is another way we can watch and wait together.
The Diocese has produced a daily prayer resource called ‘A Child Shall Lead Them’. It is available in booklet form from your local church and online. I hope many if us take that into our daily prayers as a sign of our solidarity with one another and as a sign that we and wait in joyful hope for brighter days in the sure knowledge of the gift of the One who changes everything.
The Venerable David Picken
Archdeacon of Lancaster