The Church of England Parish of

Kirdford with

Plaistow & Ifold

St John the Baptist,

Kirdford

Holy Trinity,

Plaistow

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LETTER FROM THE VICARAGE

On this page we reproduce the monthly letter from our Vicar (or occasionally from our Licensed Reader Janice Taylor) as it appears in our parish magazine, the Parish News.

Letter from the vicarage

Gleanings from the Parish News

Facilities improvements

for our churches

FROM THE VICARAGE - JANUARY 2019

Dear Friends,

How are you at making and keeping New Year resolutions?

I have to admit in the past I have had a pretty poor track record.  But a long, long time ago I made a resolution that was easy to keep.  I resolved to never make a new year's resolution again! And I can honestly say I have managed to keep that one ever since. I suppose that makes me a miserable party pooper, but I can live with that.

I do hope you had a joyous Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus.  I love all the Christmas services and the festivities that go with them, and thank you to everyone who made it so.  Thank you to those who cleaned and decorated our churches, those who sang, played and rang bells, and most of all thank you to everyone who joined together to bring such joy to our worship.

In the dictionary, Joy is defined as 'a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Synonyms - delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, ebullience, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, transports of delight, rapture, radiance, enjoyment, gratification, felicity, cloud nine, seventh heaven, joie de vivre, delectation, joyousness, jouissance, ravishment, jocundity, pleasure, source of pleasure, delight, treat, thrill, buzz, kickdelight,  joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, ebullience, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, etc etc ….'

Was your Christmas full of joy? If we're being honest, most of us will probably answer 'yes – and no!'

Joy is a very hard emotion to sustain.  It is one of those emotions that we tend to experience in a fleeting moment before it passes into something else.  Sometimes joy grows into a deeper sense of joyousness, but another time it can be followed by sadness.  It can indeed be a fickle and fleeting emotion, and yet Joy, we are promised, is a 'fruit' of the Holy Spirit.  humbled and amazed by people who, even though they are going through the hardest of times, still talk of that inner peace and joy that sustains them.  And that inner peace and joy comes of course from their faith in Jesus.

Knowing Jesus in our lives gives us not only joy and hope, but also a different perspective on life.  The exuberant joy we experience when we first encounter Jesus and invite him into our lives does indeed pass, but it passes into a deeper sense of peace and joyousness as we grow in the love of God sustained by the Holy Spirit.  Our hope comes from the promises Jesus gave us that he will be with us always and journey with us through the good times and the bad.  But more than that, he promises the gift of eternal life to all who believe and trust in him.  This then gives us a different perspective on life.

One morning a monk was taking a walk and came across a small industrial quarry.

He saw a man chiselling away at a block of stone.

“What are you doing?” asked the monk.

“Quarrying stone” the man replied with a quizzical look.

A little further on the monk came across another man also hard at work chiselling a block of stone.

“What are you doing?” asked the monk.

“Earning a day's pay” came the short gruff reply.

The monk carried on his way and it wasn't long before he found a third man also busy at work.

“What are you doing?” asked the monk.

The man straightened his back and turned to face the monk, and said “I'm building a cathedral”

It is all a matter of perspective!

Our New Year's resolutions are often about self-improvement, about building a better future for ourselves by giving something up or starting something new.  If you are anything like me, these resolutions can be all too fleeting.  But putting our hope and faith in Jesus is not, his promises last for eternity!

As 2019 begins, perhaps our resolution should be to come to know, love and follow Jesus more each day, and as we do, so we will come to know more his love, joyousness and peace in our lives.

Happy New Year Everyone. May it be joyous and blessed, and may God go with us whatever 2019 has in store for us.

Pauline