It is quite evident to keen observers that we live in a society that is more and more fragmented than many would imagine or want to agree. The United Kingdom is more than ever united only in name and Queen. The dichotomy of living standards from one area of the kingdom to the other is prevalent and seems to be growing each time new statistics is released. The North of the kingdom always seem poorer that the South. The closer to the seat of power you are appears to have major impact not only on wealth but also on well being and the longevity of life.This differentiation is not on a country wide scope alone. It is evident within councils and boroughs and even within towns and villages. It will be fallacious thinking for us to think we are not affected by this here in Oatlands. We only need to see the number of people using our local Walton and Hersham Food Bank to see that something major is wrong with our society.In the midst of these our government and many of us have been distracted by the very important issue of Brexit and what our future relationship with members of the Europe Union and the world would look like in years to come. As I write, the negotiation is ongoing and my prayer is that our leaders and negotiators as well as those of the Europe Union will be fair and just, setting aside personal egos and ambitions so that at the end of it, the ordinary man and woman will be better off in whatever the future holds for us.
In James 5:16, the Bible tells us that faithful prayer changes much. I am sure this is true and I do hope and pray that as Christians we would continue to pray for others without ceasing.Nevertheless, the Bible in various places enjoins us to work and pray. William Booth the founder of The Salvation Army is reputed to have said “he had to depend on prayer for everything, but this does not mean he didn’t have to sweat and toil to get things working”. Praying and caring physically goes hand in hand. Jesus commanded us, to love our neighbours as ourselves. It is not only in praying for our neighbours that we love them, they need to know that we love them through our words and actions.This month at Saint Mary, as a continuation on our teaching series on values, we would explore the subject of caring. What does it mean to be a caring church? What does a caring Christian looks like. I hope you will join us at the Alive@10 service on the 7th as Ros Binns leads and speaks on the Generosity of God and our response to God’s generosity.This year, we would also be supporting the Samaritan Purse and Operation Christmas Child. This is an initiative to pack a shoe box with little gifts such as pencils, scarf, books and toys for young children. This will then be sent to children in other places around the world, especially where they might not have any gift for Christmas.
Our harvest service is on the 14th with Revd Matt Prior, Guildford Diocesan Adult Discipleship Adviser) preaching and Presiding at the 10 am service. Please do join in for the Bring and Share Lunch after the service. We will also be having a special collection of non perishable food items for our local food bank. A shopping list is available in church. If you would like an electronic copy please ask the office. On Sunday 28th, our service will be a special one as we launch our new Vision Plan. Folli will be speaking more about this. It will be good to see as many of us as possible.All our other services and activities are as listed on the calendar on our website (www.oatlandschurch.org.uk) of on social media (Saint Mary Oatlands or Oatlands Church).
Who cares? We do. We do because Jesus commands us to.
In Matthew 25:31 ff: ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ ‘Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me”. This month and always, let us show the world we care. Let us pray but also work for setting the captives free, visiting the sick and lonely, feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked and ashamed. In this others would see the light of Christ in and through us and come to know and experience the love of Christ.
Have a blessed month.
PS: As I write, the news of the terrible and devastating Tsunami in Indonesia remains in the headlines. We will be praying for all those affected and we will also be contributing financially to the efforts of the Disaster Emergency Committee if you would like to play a part, please ask the Parish Office.