If you are reading this on 1 February, then I suspect that history was written yesterday. History that we thought would originally be written ten months ago! I imagine ‘Brexit’ has been on the school curriculum for politics for the last four years now – since the announcement of the referendum on Monday 22 February 2016 and the referendum itself on Thursday 23 June 2016. I wonder how long before ‘Brexit’ – the ‘British Exit from the European Union’ – makes the official history syllabus too.
We are all aware that amongst us in Wales and the UK there are varying arguments and mixed feelings toward Brexit. Well, now we wait and see what Brexit really means and what will happen to our nation, our trade deals, our border controls, our economics, our pound, and more, over the next eleven months when Brexit and it’s transition period is due to be ‘done’. I wonder what we will read, watch and hear in the press.
If you are reading this on 2 February, then today is the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (trad. ‘Candlemas’) – do come and celebrate this feast with us in Hope in our special 6pm service on Sunday 2 February. In this feast, Simeon the priest and Anna the prophetess meet the boy Jesus in the Temple and Simeon who has waited his whole life to meet Jesus, suddenly bursts into song or praise with these words from Luke 2:29-32, that will be very familiar to longstanding church members:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
Jesus, Simeon has trusted, is ‘a light for the world’. Later in John’s gospel, Jesus describes Himself as ‘The Light of the world’ (John 8:12)
Whatever your thoughts and feelings are toward Brexit, be you optimistic or pessimistic, realistic or in a dream world, or somewhere in between, Christians believe we always have a light in Jesus.
There are three things that light does. Firstly, it helps us to see. Furthermore, when we are looking for direction, light helps us to see the way to go. Secondly, light is warm. Thirdly, if you think of a small child scared of the dark, then light helps that child to feel safe too.
As we follow Jesus, the Light of the world, Christians believe that Jesus can help us to ‘see how to live’. As we stay close to Jesus, Christians believe that Jesus can keep us, ‘warm, safe and secure’. Safe and secure in the knowledge that whilst we don’t have all the answers (which as much as we speculate about Brexit – I suspect few can predict what really is going to happen), that whether we are a British national living in the UK or outside the UK, whether an EU national living in the UK or outside the UK with UK ties, or from further afield again, the promise of God is that we can always trust in Christ to watch over us and our families.
Jesus never promises an easy ride – he certainly didn’t have one himself – crucifixion is hardly an easy ride!! – but he does promise us strength and a way through hardship and or unknowns – with Jesus there is always light at the end of the tunnel (of life).
Whether you are for “Brexit or afraid of the effects of it” (to quote Dai Woolridge, see Rector Writes, February 2019), as we conclude the Epiphany season (which means we switch off the star lights on the Hope Church tower too) may you know this month, in your hearts and minds and lives, the continuing light of Jesus. May He direct you and keep you strong in whatever lies ahead for you in your life’s path.
Finally, after a fairly quiet January, life in our churches now starts to pick up again. In Hope, we continue to put together our P4G – our ‘Plan for Growth’ as we pick up the Leading Your Church into Growth Local Course again (sessions 4 and 5 will be on 3 and 24 Feb at 7:30pm – everyone welcome) and we look forward to Rob Attree’s ‘Big Quiz Night’ on 28 Feb (7pm start). 1 March, in St John’s we look forward to St David’s Day Songs of Praise with the Community Choir.
Also toward the end of this month we come into the season of Lent. This year we begin Lent with services of Holy Communion on Ash Wednesday in St John the Baptist Church (6:30pm) and Hope Church (7:30pm). Do come along.
In Christ, Adam
Rev Adam Pawley