The Parish of Burchetts Green

Discipleship is about growing in faith and being energised by our connection to the model of Christian life that Jesus gave us.

The rhythm of the Christian year keeps us closely in step with the life of Jesus. During Advent, a time of preparation, of waiting and of pruning out unnecessary clamour, enables us to stay connected to Jesus.

Modern life in all its busyness swallows up time and setting aside moments for productive pauses for reflection is a challenge.  It is however well worth making time for that to happen.

Bishop Steven has said that we need to become a more Christ-like church, one that is contemplative, compassionate and courageous. Advent is the time to consider if we are following this Diocesan initiative.

In the spring the emerging branches of the vine will be flexible and allowed to flourish.  We are all individuals with various gifts that can be used to bring abundant life. There is room and flexibility for us all to offer our gifts to God for the good of others.

As we enjoy a glass of wine this Christmas, think of the vines that have been carefully pruned and nurtured in order to produce fruit in abundance. Consider also this biblical parable as a model for our own abundant life today.

May I wish you a Happy Christmas and fruitfulness in the New Year.

Every blessing

Fruitfulness by Rev Dilys

As I was driving along the road through the beautiful Stoner valley, I noticed that there are new plantations of vines springing up. There are now vines cultivated on quite a few of the sheltered south facing slopes in and around the Thames valley, and further north, indicating that the changing climate is now suitably warm enough in recent years to grow vines successfully.

The harvest of the grapes is now finished and the vines will be pruned back for the new season’s healthy growth to begin next spring.

There is a time of dormancy through the winter months. I was reminded of the passage in John’s gospel (chapter 15) – ‘I am the true vine and you are the branches’.  Pruning, as any gardener knows, is necessary to keep stock healthy and to produce a plentiful crop.

We are approaching the reflective season of Advent, when we are encouraged to pause and take stock of our own spiritual health.  Like all living plants, we need a time of rest and renewal if we are to be healthy and productive in our daily life.  We need to re-engage with the rhythm of abundant life which means pruning out those things which we know hold us back and stunt our growth.

Advent is that pause before the rush and excitement of Christmas overtakes us.  The Christian year mirrors the life of Jesus Christ beginning with Advent in preparation for his birth narrative. Jesus said: ‘I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful’. Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches and, as such, we receive all our nourishment and energy for spiritual growth from Jesus.