Firstly, please allow me to thank everyone who was involved in my installation as your new Vicar last Sunday.  The service was one full of joy and thanksgiving and it was so nice to see a packed church!  My family and I are excited to becoming part of the culture of this parish, and to be working with you all in continuing to build God’s kingdom here in Christchurch. Thank you for entrusting your care to me!

Today we are reminded of the calling of John the Baptizer,

“A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord”’

Yes, this is Advent, the season of preparation and at the blink of an eye, we are in our second Sunday.  The shops are full of gifts that we might give or receive. Streets are decorated and choirs begin the rounds of community centres and retirement homes with their seasonal offerings of carols.

As we prepare, we remember another, John the Baptist, who came to prepare the Jewish people for the arrival of Jesus.  John, who would prepare a way through a call to repentance, so that hearts and souls would be ready to receive the One who was to come, as proclaimed centuries earlier by the prophet Isaiah. Today, let this be our humble prayer:

“Father God, prepare our hearts not only for the celebration to come, but also for sharing that Good News with friends, family and work colleagues should opportunity arise. Grant us courage and a real willingness to talk about the love that came down to earth and walked among us. Amen.”