Dear Friends

As a child a visit to the Pantomime was one of my favourite things during the Christmas season. Pantomime became a major attraction in the United Kingdom from the late 16th century. Pantomime modelled itself upon the early masques of the Elizabethan and Stuart era. It is suggested that the timing of the pantomime and its format may have evolved during the Tudor period and was called the ‘Feast of Fools’. Even Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Margaret starred in a wartime production of ‘Aladdin ‘at Windsor Castle, with Elizabeth playing principal boy and Margaret playing the Princess of China. Pantomime has always had the capacity to adapt, to move with the times, welcoming stars from radio, television and sport. The art of ‘adlibbing’ is also useful! Audience participation has always been encouraged to engage people young and old and to offer children a magical moment when the villain is defeated and true love conquers all.

We have all been following the advent story. God came, not in grandeur or glitz, but to work through the marginalized and the outcast. We have also witnessed and heard through his son Jesus, God’s grace extended beyond one nation to the whole world. However, the experiences and the events of Advent should not be diminished to bare facts; but also need to be experienced. How are we going to respond to the advent story? God coming into the world as a human being; it does require a response. The story could easily be portrayed as a drama. During a final curtain call, the actors come on stage to take their bows while the audience applauds. During the many encores and as the curtain raises again, more of the people and the scenery of the advent story are revealed. As we, the audience continue to applaud, something unusual occurs. An invitation is given to you to come and join them on stage and to worship the child and to see in the infant’s eyes the hope of salvation and forgiveness.

The question for us is; Do we allow the curtain to close for another year or do we step forward in faith and add our worship to theirs? Has this advent story included you? But more importantly, it’s not just about hearing or even appreciating the events, it demands our belief and our involvement.

As we face the challenges and great opportunities of 2019 for the life of SURC, the question that needs to be in the forefront of our minds at all times is; “How are the decisions we are going to make, be pleasing to God?” Let us continue to journey together in great anticipation of what is to come!

May God bless you all in 2019

Martin