New Year Message: Two Golden Opportunities

I wish you a New Year lived in the spirit of Mary, Joseph and the Wise Kings of the Long Journey.

An email has gone out to all who follow our Aidan and Hilda Way of Life inviting them to apply for the joint post of co-wardens at our Open Gate Retreat House on Holy Island, to replace Graham and Ruth Booth. This is a golden opportunity for those who are up for a tough God-adventure. If you do not already live by the Way of Life but might begin to do so you also could apply.

Geoff and Joy Holt, who own our Link House, The Cairn, in Sparkhill, Birmingham are also offering accommodation for two young volunteers who will help them to be a Community House that services work among asylum seekers, Muslims and Christian converts, and maintain a daily rhythm of prayer and hospitality.

Before I departed from there I wrote:

"There's nothing like the household Holt

To give a snoozer a timely jolt.

Here tongues don't wag - just doggy tails;

Shalom style bounty never fails.

England's heart is Birmingham:

Sparkhill's heart is called The Cairn."

In both cases contact Geoff Holt via the contact email on the community web site www.aidanandhilda.org

During this period between Christmas and Epiphany I am reflecting on Mary, Joseph and on traditions about the Wise Kings. Would Mary have applied for a job like that at The Open Gate? Probably not. On the other hand, God had his own job spec. for her - she would not have applied for that either. God wooed her into this job because he was looking for someone who was pure in heart and who was willing to let go of bargaining positions about financial reward, status and security. She abandoned herself to God without knowing how or where she would be led. Joseph was a kindred spirit. So I am praying that God will alert people in the tradition of Mary and Joseph to these callings. Mary and Joseph had to flee from a planned massacre designed to eliminate their baby. They became refugees. They returned to a strange town and had to start home and a job from scratch in Nazareth. People who work with The Community of Aidan and Hilda may face opposition and accommodation problems, but as we look back these will seem nothing in comparison to the wonder of being led by God and being allowed to share in the ever growing life of the Messiah.

Tradition has given the three magi the status of kings and has ascribed names to them. Balthasar (an Ethiopian) was king of Arabia, Gaspar was king of India, and Melchior was king of Persia. They brought royal wisdom from God into their governance. Let us pray for God-led governments in these and neighbouring countries and in our own countries in 2016.

A book about the Danes ('The Year of Living Danishly' by Helen Russell) suggests they are the happiest nation because they trust one another and are therefore willing to pay high taxes that ensure universally good provision, and because they have a good work - family- recreation balance. They make space for beauty and time for play. Time Magazine's feature on The Person of the Year nominates Angela Merkel because 'she is asking a great deal of the German people, and by their example, the rest of us as well. To be welcoming. To be unafraid. To believe that great civilisations build bridges, not walls...'. We, too, can be part of the prophet Isaiah's prediction: 'Of the increase of (Christ's) government there shall be no end' (9:2).

Ray

Posted at 10:51am on 27th December 2015
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