Letter from the Vicar – 13 December 2015

Dear Friends,
Welcome to S. Michael’s today on this third Sunday of Advent, which is called
Gaudete Sunday. This name comes from the first word of the traditional entrance
antiphon and means ‘Rejoice’. It is a Sunday when, traditionally, the penitential
focus of Advent is relaxed and we allow the joyful expectation of the redemption
offered through the coming Saviour to begin to emerge. We show this by lighting the
rose candle for joy on the Advent wreath, by the use of the beautiful rose-coloured
vestments, and by omitting the Asperges (sprinkling with baptismal water).

As we draw nearer to Christmas and the end of the year, with all that must be done,
we can feel an increasing weariness. There seems to be so much to do and the
pressure of everybody trying to do it all at once can be very stressful as we move
around congested roads and shopping malls. The temptation at this time could be to
cut back on prayer and worship in order to get more time.

During the week I reflected on a saying of Jesus, “Come to me, all you that are weary
and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11: 28) This
reminded me that even, and indeed, especially, when we are under pressure, when
we are tired and weighed down, that we need to draw near to Jesus to find rest.

This rest is not the kind of rest we might find in sleeping off Christmas dinner, but
rather it is the rest of Sabbath. Sabbath was a sign that the people of Israel had left
their slavery behind and were now serving their God. Sabbath rest for us is when,
having found our freedom, we rejoice.

I am delighted to see the position of Children and Youth Ministry Developer now
advertised. I think this is such an exciting development for our parish and school.
Please pray that we may find a really good person to fill this role among us, and if you
know anybody who might be suitable, encourage him or her to apply.

We are adopting the practice of reserving some gluten-free wafers, so please indicate
to the priest if you would like to receive one at Communion.
Maranatha—Come, Lord Jesus!

Father Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

  • Christmas Flowers: please give donations to Jill Woodside or leave in the office during the week. The flowers will be arranged on 24 December from 9:30 am.
  • Verger: expressions of interest are invited from people willing to act as verger for weddings and funerals. Please speak to Fr Andrew.
  • Sales Table: Sundays after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Christmas Raffle: great prizes to be won. Tickets today from Anne Ladd or from the office during the week—$2 each or 3 for $5.
  • The Vege Co-op will take a break after this Wednesday, resuming next year at the beginning of February.
  • City Mission Carol Service: Wednesday 7:30 pm at the Cathedral.
  • Pre-Christmas Working Bee: brass cleaning etc. Saturday from 9:45 am.
  • Children’s Crib and Carol Service: 21 December at 6:30 pm.
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.