The Whitehaven Manse
When considering what to write for my December/January pastoral letter and beginning to prepare Advent services, I came across this meditation which I thought I would share with you.
God is Coming
In a time of darkness Good News is wanted – it is urgently needed – it is anxiously awaited.
How strange it is that when it comes it is so often not heard; and if it is heard it is not understood; and if it is understood it is rejected.
The world does not think of the message of the Bible and Good News. God’s news is joyful, full of life and hope. So often the world does not perceive the messengers of today as carrying that sort of news.
Good News is positive and life enhancing. So often the news is perceived by the word as negative, as a collection of prohibitions, as life denying.
God is coming! Every day He comes!
The coming of God is feared because He will bring changes; and changes are feared. It is more comfortable to remain with the familiar.
The coming of God is welcomed. To the outcast, to the oppressed, to the enslaved, the coming of God will bring acceptance, freedom, justice and release.
God comes in weakness, and His coming is despised by the world.
BUT – God chooses what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and He chooses what the world considers to be weak to shame the powerful. He chooses what the world looks down on and despises in order to destroy what the world thinks as important.
Your God is coming. Prepare to welcome Him.
(© 1998, Rosemary Reid. Wild Goose Publications. Used with Permission)
May God bless you as you make your preparations to celebrate His coming among us and stay safe.
Sadly, due to COVID-19 the 2020 Passion Play didn’t take place – that in itself is ironic that a play should have been postponed due to a pandemic, a modern day plague. The play has been rescheduled for the summer of 2022 and I will still be leading a party mainly from West Cumbria. The trip is from August 17-24 and will fly to Munich from Manchester. For most of the trip we will be staying in the Arzlerhof Hotel in the Tyrolean village of Azrl in Austria. Some of you who booked to come this year have indicated you’d still like to go; places are available if anyone would like to join the party please see me for an updated brochure.
A reminder of the history of how the play came about. A play of life and death, promised in a moment of mortal threat … so began the history of the Oberammergau Passion Play in 1633. In the middle of the Thirty Years War, after months of suffering and death from the plague, the Oberammergauers swore an oath that they would perform the "Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ" every ten years. At Pentecost 1634, they fulfilled their pledge for the first time on a stage they put up in the cemetery above the fresh graves of the plague victims.
In the year 2022, the Community of Oberammergau will perform the Passion Play, they have preserved for over 380 years, for the 42nd time. All actors of the world's largest amateur dramatic performance come from the village, since a special play law is in effect. All participants, from actors playing the big speaking parts such as Jesus, Mary or Judas, through members of the choir, orchestra members, firemen and ushers, must have been born in Oberammergau or lived there for at least 20 years. The play is now recognised as the most important Passion Play in the world.
The premiere of the 42nd Passion Play will take place on 14 May 2022 and this small village at the edge of the Bavarian Alps expects more than 450,000 visitors in the summer of 2022 to witness 102 performances over a twenty week period.