Letter to parishioners, 12 November 2020

Read a letter dated 12 November 2020 from Revd Stephen to parishioners

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we continue to journey through the latest round of Covid compliance restrictions we can find encouragement in this Sunday’s gospel reading. As we approach the end of the Church’s year (we are just two weeks away from Advent Sunday) we come to the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The parable speaks of the master’s servants being entrusted with talents (which were large sums of money) while he travelled far from home. The servants were expected to care for and nurture the talents that had been entrusted to them. Two of the servants realized the expectations of their master, while a third servant dug a hole and hid his master’s money.

This week our reading from Matthew’s gospel is encouraging us to take a look at how we handle the investment God has made in us. We have all been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and much has been invested in the way we live out our lives. Humanity has been given power and reason, imagination and creativity, responsibility and conscience. God has given us much but he also asks much of us. As God has made us in his own image, so he has given us a level of personal freedom that allows us to get things very wrong if we forget or neglect our relationship with him. Pause and look at the world around you. Whichever angle you view the world from we can see how often human beings do, in fact, get it wrong. But, it need not be like that.

None of us has the power or the influence to change the world on our own. However, we do all have the ability to make a difference in the small corner of the world we inhabit. During the pandemic we have seen many people, on both a local as well as a national scale, make a difference. Yes, those who work in the medical and caring professions have proved their ability to go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41) but so have many other people. The needs of others have been recognized and sometimes unseen or unused talents have brought both relief and comfort. In our Benefice there have been many examples of people organizing others to bring comfort and companionship, to provide practical support, to offer Christian love and service to those who have been challenged beyond their capabilities and endurance. This week’s gospel reading will, I hope and pray, provide some consolation and reassurance to those who have used their talents for the good of others.

None of us knows what is going to happen in the short-term, or even the medium-term. We do not know what Christmas and beyond is going to look like. We do not know what further compromises and sacrifices we may need to make for the good of others. Whatever may lie ahead of us, we do need to be thankful to those who have used their talents in a constructive and imaginative way. We also need to consider how we are using the talents God has given us. Are we letting others take the strain of supporting those around us, or are we making the effort to prove that God’s great gift to humanity was not like one of those unused Christmas presents that will find their way to the charity shops in the months to come?

With every blessing to you all,

Revd Stephen