A Message From Matt

By the Revd Matthew Earwicker, Rector of The Oldbury Benefice

Matthew EarwickerDear all,


I don't know about you , but I can still remember calculating how old I was going to be at the turn of the millennium, and now we are into its third decade! And how different it is from how I pictured it!

I was tempted to write a letter talkinĀ§ about the fact that we face possibly the most uncertainty that we have ever done in my lifetime, with Brexit,_global gee-political conflicts and climate change in our faces every day. And they are all real: and we do need to address them urgently.

But I want instead to write about the hope I have looking forward. And I have that hope for two reasons.

The first is you, my fellow human beings. I am in no doubt about the pull each of us has towards selfishness and looking after ourselves at the expense of others. I have seen for myself, as others of you have I'm sure, some of the worst excesses we can stoop to. But at the same time, I believe there is in each one of us something that knows what is right, which can be appealed to, and which fights against the other tendency. I have seen the lengths people are willing to go to for the sake of others, the sacrifices people choose to make every day, seen or unseen. And I take heart. I know Christianity has a mixed record on compassion and respect, but I believe that this potential within us is what the earliest pages of the Bible mean when they say we are made 'in God's image '.

And my other reason is God himself. I know not all of you will share this with me and will wish to stay with my first reason. But I am genuinely excited that God made us for a purpose, which is to join him in looking after each other and the world around us. And because that is his purpose, he offers to help us do that. The Bible tells us that the heart of Jesus' message was his call to "Repent". Repentance is not just saying sorry - it is much more practical than that. It means to look at where we are headed, recognise that it is not the right direction, and change course. It means looking back at mistakes we have made or people we have hurt, and committing ourselves to doing things differently next time. It may involve saying sorry and rebuilding burnt bridges, but the offer of Jesus is freedom from having to feel guilty for the past, and his help in our attempts to do better in the future. And I, for one, need both.

With every blessing on you and your family for 2020 and beyond .


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