Bourne Abbey Church

Bishop's letter

Bishop of Lincoln's letter for February 2017

Dear Friends,

 

I am writing this letter to you on a cold and wintery January afternoon. This year, the Church's calendar gives a relatively long gap between Epiphany and the beginning of Lent, and I have a real sense of being in an 'in between' time.

 

Being 'in between' can be an uncertain and even challenging thing - we may be in between jobs, in between school and university, in between work and retirement, in between surgery and recovering to full health. Our nation is also in between, as we wait for outworking of last year's vote to leave the European Union.

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Being in between one place and another can be a time to rest and take stock; but it can also be a time of fear and disorientation as the hopes and dreams that have motivated or even driven us thus far - doing well in our last job, getting into university or safely through an operation - no longer apply. We can find ourselves without direction as we wait passively for the next stage to begin.

 

W H Auden, reflects on this in his Christmas oratorio 'For the time being':

But, for the time being, here we all are, Back in the moderate Aristotelian city, Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry.  

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And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience, And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it...

The Time being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all...

In the meantime

There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair, Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem

From insignificance.

 

Redeeming the 'time being from insignificance' is the challenge of living life in between: in between the various stages and conditions that come our way; in between the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and his coming again.

 

As Christians, we believe that we do not remain 'in between' forever. We believe that in the fullness of time God calls each person, and in fact the whole of creation, into his Kingdom. We redeem the 'time being from insignificance' by asking God to maintain and nourish us on our journey, and to provide us with all that we need to take us on the journey from being in between, to being with God in his Kingdom.

 

+ Christopher Lincoln

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