If someone would ask me what is the greatest fear of our generation I think I would say “loneliness”
Older people are afraid of being forgotten and left alone.
Younger people fill their lives with social media constantly needing the “fix” of “likes” and the attention of others. They daren’t miss out even for a few hours.
So many in the middle tell me they are lonely in their relationship or marriage. Other feel isolated and alone in a marriage.
We've got a beautiful churchyard at St Peter's Church. Sometimes its nice to just sit there and take in a bit of peace and quiet or to take a gentle stroll through the ground.
In recent years many have revived the ancient practice of prayer walking. Sometimes this simply involve walking round a community pausing to pray for peoel who live in the houses you pass, for the shops and business, the schools and other things you walk past. I sometimes like to do this as I walk around Rawdon bringing our community to God in prayer.
Sometimes in our Churches, and in our communities, and in politics there can be an ideological battle between traditionalists and those who seek change, between radical and conservatives. Because we all have different temperaments it can result in us "taking sides"
But there is a third way. In the church "tradition" is simply what the Holy Spirit did and taught us in the church in the past continuing to echo down the years. It adds richness, continuity and means we don't have to learn everything anew in every generation. But the same Holy Spirit continues to speak and work in the church today.
At this time of year we begin to wish each other Happy Christmas . And maybe we start to dream of a Happy Christmas. The family gathered round the Christmas tree, Christmas carols , children excitedly opening their presents, a wonderful family meal together. A glass or two of something convivial, partying with friends. But all to easily it ends up instead with the kids arguing with their brothers and sisters, stressed out parents, feeling fat and bloated and wishing you hadn’t had that last mince pie or last drink – and a nasty credit card bill a month later !