December 2021 letter
How can we reach the new generations with the good news of salvation? God had the answer to that question when he sent his only Son into the world as a baby growing in Mary’s tummy. Start young.
This Advent we are hearing from the first chapter of the New Testament in our Sunday teaching. Matthew’s gospel surprises many modern readers by starting with a big family tree or, more accurately, the main suspects in a male line stretching from Abraham to Jesus.
We don’t understand the significance of Jesus’ coming to earth unless we know the main line of the Old Testament. Once we have worked our way from Adam to Abraham to David to the exile to the birth of Jesus, then we have the best chance of receiving the good news of God’s salvation.
There was still every chance that the hard-bitten people of Old Testament times would be too cold-hearted to receive the good news which God had to give. But even the hardest hearts are softened by the arrival of a baby. Even those who think they’ve heard it all before will have to admit the possibility of a bright new chapter of God at work. The Lord was wise to start young.
At the end of January, we have a project designed to help our primary schools in their teaching of Judaism and Christianity. It’s called the Knitted Bible. For a week we will welcome each of the primary school classes in the village to church, one-by-one, for 45 minutes each. They will be guided around a presentation of 35 scenes from the Bible, made by knitters out of wool.
About 15 of the scenes are from the Old Testament, followed by 20 scenes from the life of Jesus. It will be educational, informative, quirky and fun. The church building will be transformed for a week and a bit. Schoolchildren will be welcome through the weekdays. Others will have opportunity to visit at weekends and evenings. Everybody will have the chance to see some of the key turning points in the Bible, represented in miniature scenes involving knitted characters and props.
We are seeking to help the people of our parish engage with the good news of the Bible and we are starting young.
With a Happy Christmas and a brilliant New Year to you,
Yours in Christ,
Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash – church in Iceland