Bishop's Comment: A Story to Tell

1st February 2021

A fourteen year old boy has been offering to read well-known bed time stories over the internet to neighbours’ children to give their parents a few minutes’ break. His enterprise is growing and appreciated across the generations.

Each of us has a story to tell either by one of our favourite writers, or from the Bible, or from our own experience. We can benefit by pausing to listen to a familiar description, creative insight or stimulating point of view. 

My predecessor Mark Santer has given a wonderful account of faithful Christian life in a sermon preached on the 40th Anniversary of his ordination as Bishop. He has connected the Christian story with his own, beginning with baptism and growing into pastoral responsibility for Christ’s flock. His is a story of humility, honesty, gratitude and hope, bringing inspiration to Christians and many others on his long journey. 

What story do you have to tell? The pandemic has given much to reflect on both about changes to personal life and changes to society. 

This month Christians start by remembering Luke’s Gospel account of the infant Jesus being presented to God in the Temple. This includes the stories of a righteous man Simeon and a prophetess Anna who both recognised the unique calling of Jesus, and couldn’t help speaking about the salvation he was bringing to the world.

Archbishop Justin often likes to ask his listeners after a sermon to talk to the nearest people and explain why they are a Christian, without religious language and in two minutes. Will you try this?

As we join with the Nation and around the world in daily prayer for the heartbroken and despairing let us listen and speak, humbly, simply and boldly, in receiving and bringing faith and hope and love. 

In addition to Bishop Mark Santer’s sermon (click here to request a copy), I have been encouraged this week by reading and hearing about the stories of Christian realism and vision in the midst of the Pandemic.

From Archdeacon Luke Miller’s call for a contribution to mission ‘from a love of God in Christ which spills over into a desire for souls’ (Church Union Observer January 2021 p34) and Revd Maggie Stirling Troy’s linking the Anglican Five Marks of Mission with the Pope’s ‘Laudato Si, Care for our Common Home’ (Central Reader Council Transforming Ministry Spring 2021 p8) to Bishop Richard Jackson of Hereford on the ‘Church in Transition: confident uncertainty’, with the reissue of the Saints Alive course (Resource Winter Newsletter 2021 p1) and Alastair Bateman’s Church Mission Society Community focus on Luke 4:14-22 following Jesus’ wilderness temptations and looking to ‘proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour’ (CMS The Call Issue 17 Winter 2021).

What has inspired your Christian journey  this month in listening, viewing, reading or chatting?