Christmas and New Year

Thank you to everyone who helped to make our World Aids Day service so special, especially Will who played music and led worship during the service. There were over 30 of us gathered, a huge improvement on the past few years, and it was nice meeting new people over a cuppa afterwards.

Advent has now begun. This Sunday, Dec 8th, we have a service of Light led by Rev. Peta and Mary. It will include a spiral of lights to be walked, right in the centre of our worship space! Then directly afterwards we’ll grab a cup of tea and hold our AGM.

On Dec 15th our special guest speaker will be Rev. Alex Mabbs. He’s always a treat to hear speak, and his seasonal jumpers are always fun!

Dec 22nd is our Christmas service, with lots of music and celebrating. It wouldn’t be Christmas at The Village MCC without the open Mic Christmas Eve, don’t forget that if you have a song to share please let me know BEFORE Dec 15th so I can include you in the line-up. The theme this year is CHRISTMAS! (surprise lol!).

I hope you have a wonderful light-filled and blessed Christmas. There’s lots to celebrate in the new year including our anniversary service on Sunday 2nd February, and our new Tuesday evening prayer groups and Thursday evening study groups. More on these soon!

Much love
Rev. Michael xx

There’s good news and there’s bad news….

The good news is that Rev. Peta has been unanimously appointed as the senior pastor for MCC North London! The bad news is that Peta will be leaving us soon to take up their new post. Although none of the details have been set yet, Rev. Peta’s last service with us will probably be some time in January. That’s when we can celebrate the amazing two years they have served with us and thank them for the many ways they have blessed us.

Please join me in praying for Rev. Peta as they move into their new role, that God bless the congregation in their care, that the Holy Spirit empower the work that they do, and that Jesus Christ be the joy that grounds them in all that they do together. We are going to miss them soooo much, but celebrate the new and exciting journey that lays ahead for them. Rev. Michael. xx

I have always enjoyed Rev. Steve Austin’s blogs, and this one especially spoke to me. I thought you might enjoy it, so I hope it touches you too. Love Rev. Michael

The Gift of Being Fragile

“This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
– Luke 2:12b (The Message)

“…we wait; and hope appears if we truly desire to see it.”
-Anne Lamott

How long had Israel been looking for the Messiah? They’d been waiting for a very long time on the military powerhouse to come and sit on the throne and–with God–smash their enemies to bits.

Can you imagine what the Wise Men must have thought when the angels surrounded them in a field, God’s glory blazing around them like fire?

What a grand announcement it would be!

But wait. What?

God wanted them to look for a baby in a blanket, lying in…a manger? A manger? Like cows and chickens and donkeys, oh my?! I’m sure the shepherds thought those angels must have been smoking something.

This announcement made no sense.

In essence, the angels told the shepherds to look for fragility.

Look for vulnerability, they said, it will lead you to courage.

Look for weakness, they nudged, it is there you’ll find the glory of God.

Keep your eyes peeled for gentleness, the angels declared, because the world is hardened enough.

As someone with a diagnosed mental illness, I live in the tension of “embrace fragility” and “in this world, you will have trouble.” For the longest time, those two concepts seemed to go together like oil and water. Don’t you have to be strong if you’re facing trouble?

Nearly dying by suicide changed all that for me. When I woke up in an ICU hospital room after surviving a suicide attempt, the last thing I wanted to be was vulnerable. I’d mastered the art of sweeping pain under the rug and permanently affixing my “Isn’t Jesus lovely?” mask for the world to see.

But after undergoing years of therapy, needing medication because my brain isn’t quite wired like everyone else’s, and being forced to ask for help, I can tell you that vulnerability is the only path to freedom.

Don’t take my word for it. Look at the life of Jesus: from his birth to the cross, we see Jesus embracing his own fragility.

In addition to that, he is constantly surrounding himself with those who were anything but strong. A blind man, a woman with a bleeding problem, a guy overcome by demons, and a man who’d been crippled for nearly four decades.

“Embrace fragility,” it seems, was the mission statement of Emmanuel.

And isn’t that Good News? We all feel fragile and vulnerable, shakily scared of uncertainty. But peace is waiting on the other side of all this turmoil.

Advent is a corporate acknowledgment that we cannot deliver ourselves. In our own vulnerability, we recognize our lack. We honor our wait for deliverance from our grief and groaning, but we wait with hope because we already know Goodness is on the other side.

And as we expectantly wait for deliverance, we also celebrate God remaining present with us through every facet of the human experience.

“My peace I give to you,” Jesus said. But when he promised us peace, it wasn’t to replace difficulties, but in response to them. It was the assurance that He would be with us through every experience.

The world is groaning under the pressure of its own woundedness, and even though the peace of God doesn’t always make sense, peace is an assurance that in the midst of hell breaking loose: shootings and riots and wars and demonizing of “the other,” Emmanuel is with us in our fragility.

We feel terrorized. We are heartbroken and afraid. Shame keeps us hiding from each other and trying to hide our fragility from God, but God is not uncertain or afraid. I think Heaven weeps, but God knows the beginning from the end. Peace is the stubborn trust that things will get better one day.

Our waiting will be worth it.

This Advent season, if you’re in the midst of the mess, it’s typical to get disillusioned by despair and allow your doubts and frustration to grow. But God isn’t intimidated by our humanity, and doesn’t move away at the sight of our wounds.

In fact, in the middle of our own personal hell, we find Emmanuel, wrapped in a blanket, showing us how to be fragile.

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