Ministers Letter – December 2010

Rev. Ray Coates

Dear Friends,

By the time you read this we shall be into Advent, the lead-up to Christmas. I have to say that two events yesterday, (I’m writing this on Sunday, November 21st), really set me up for it.

In the morning, along with some other preachers from our circuit and from round the District, we were in Knaresborough at Gracious Street Methodist Church for their Bible School. Then, after lunch on the run, we were at Ulleskelf’s Christmas Fair, where a good time was had by all, even though there was no Father Christmas.

I enjoyed myself in the afternoon. I didn’t buy any books or any items from the bric-a-brac stall, we are after all preparing to downsize, but cakes and chutneys, prizes from various stalls, not to mention a warming cuppa, were all purchased. There were friends from the village as well as from the churches to chat with and a new baby, Charlotte, who I shall be baptising in January, was seen for the first time. We shall soon be celebrating again the birth of that other baby, our Lord Jesus, and Charlotte was a reminder of him and of the miracle of human life.

Yet much as I enjoyed myself, the morning was perhaps what I needed more. Rev’d Martin Turner, Minister at Westminster Central Hall in London, was leading us in a gallop through Paul’sLetter to the Colossians. In bite-sized chunks, with intervals to allow each course time to settle and be digested, and laced with humour, God through Martin fed us. The Letter was written when Paul was under house arrest to people he’d never met but who he’d heard were in trouble. There was a danger that they would be led down the wrong path and so he was reminding them of what they had been taught when they first heard the good news about Jesus. So he reminded us of the supremacy of Christ and went on to speak about the way in which Jesus, by his teaching and his death on the cross, has led us into new ways and set us free from things that would mar and limit our lives.

In the period of this newsletter, which straddles the turn of the year, we need first to remind ourselves that Christ should have supremacy in our hearts and thinking at this time of year when it is so easy for other things to crowd him out. Let’s not make it yet another year when there’s again ‘no room for him at the inn’. And when the New Year dawns, let’s avail ourselves of the opportunity for a new start which he offers us.

Wishing you every blessing,
Your Minister and friend,