St Denys' and St Mark's Joint Benefice

  • The Rectory
  • Mayfield Road
  • Rotherfield
  • East Sussex
  • TN6 3LU

01892 852536
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January 2019

Before considering the coming year, I would just like to thank all those who made Christmas such a special occasion.  The lead-up started with a lovely Christingle service at Mark Cross School and then the wonderful ‘First Nowell’ festival where St Denys was filled with various beautiful creations based on themes from that much-loved carol.  The church was then prepared for the season of Christmas with some outstanding displays by our flower-arranging team; these are always appreciated and not only added to the sense of occasion, but brought about numerous positive comments; St Denys’ Church looked quite brilliant.  Sadly, but for a very good reason, St Mark’s Church wasn’t able to produce its usual lovely displays for the festive season.  The Church building is still undergoing its re-ordering and the hope in the next few months it will be functioning as a multi-purpose building for Mark Cross Community as well as providing for the spiritual needs of through the continued ministry of St Mark’s Church family.

As we leave one year behind, it is always helpful to reflect and look forward to what a new year might have install for us.  What is it that we look forward to and what is it that we hope to achieve?   Each of us may answer the question in different ways, some more hopeful and positive, while others maybe fearful.  As I write this the Brexit debate continues and the uncertainty it generates may cause many to be fretful for their own and the nation’s future.  And when we look at the world, what is it that people hope for?  

A recent poll among children suggested overwhelmingly what they hoped for was world peace.  Sad in some ways, even at such a young age, they were hoping for peace.

If we are not careful the troubles of our world can overwhelm us and this will affect our outlook and hopes for the coming year.  From a biblical perspective we are told that this will be the way of the world and despite the best and, at times noble efforts of many people to save the planet, the sinful side of our nature will mean that alone we cannot achieve what many of us hope and desire. We will need, what has been our Advent hope; the eventual the return of the creator to sort things out.

For the Christian, we are not immune from the impact of the world on our lives and we continue to do our best to make the world a better place, as we seek to advance the kingdom of God with its values of love; love for God and love for our neighbours, and just as important, love for ourselves.  However, we do need to have hope and the Bible gives us assurances that despite what might be happening in our world, God will have the ultimate say and his benevolent will for the world will one day come about.  The world, so often in opposition to the way God would have things, will have eventually succumb to God’s gentle and kindly rule.  The last book in the Bible, we are told: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation ch11 v15) 

And the final few words of the Bible, we have the Aramaic word, ‘Marantha’, meaning: ‘The Lord is coming’

Heaven’s promise: “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Earth’s response: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

In the meantime, we are assured that God will be with us while we are in the ‘thick of things.’  As the psalmist hopes and believes:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46 v1-3)