Sunday, 5 January 2014
New year new starts
Here in Bermondsey we are proud of our member of parliament, Simon Hughes, and we were delighted when he asked if he could come to St James on the first Sunday of the new year for act of dedication as he begins to take up his new responsibilities as Minister for Justice and Civil Liberties.
Simon's new responsibilities are huge and weighty. The media are often very critical of politicians - sometimes, rightly so - but it is also important to be realistic about the scale of the challenges they face. They need our prayers, as Simon freely confessed today.
Today as well as being the first Sunday of the new year, it was the eve of the feast of the Epiphany, so we thought of the wise men who knelt before the baby Jesus and worshipped him and considered how millions down the centuries have followed their lead in recognising his kingly reign.
With Simon's act of dedication in view we we considered how a 'minister' is literally 'a servant' - in our parliamentary democracy, a servant of the Crown and the people. 'The wisest of Her Majesty's ministers' I suggested 'follow her lead in placing their humble trust in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, not leaning on their own understanding, but seeking to be led in his ways.'
It was great to be there for this significant moment for Luke, Smaragda and the children and it was especially good to hear the Bishop of London's scintillating vision for his diocese.
In his sermon he explained his vision for 2020 in London with 100,000 Christians equipped to explain the reason for the hope that is in them, a 50 per cent increase in ordinands,and a commitment to three key priorities:
1. Confidence in the Gospel. The Gospel is not good advice, but Good News, the Good News that the word became flesh and lived amongst us.
2. The compassion of Christ shared widely with communities across London, thransforming lives with his love
3. Creativity - communicating the Gospel in creative and fresh ways. (The Bishop, who said he was in the 'springtime of his senility,' looked to young fellows like Luke to come up with new and imaginative ways of communicating the Gospel....... I'm sure Luke will do that, but it did strike me that the bishop isn't doing too bad himself).
The London 2020 vision could with profit cross the river to our own diocese, too.