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Christmas Message from the Rector

Many people tell me that Christmas is their favourite time of year.  Not for everyone of course, for others, those who have lost loved ones, or find themselves separated from family and friends or are simply don’t enjoy the whole secular Christmas vibe it can be a difficult time. But even for those of us who love Christmas it can be stressful.  There are quite a few things we allow ourselves to get wound up about!  Here are just three I have been guilty of in the past.

  1. First Stress: Present buying.   Trying to get the right thing for everyone and isn’t there always one person that you can never think what to get? You spend far more time seeking that gift out than any of the others and then when you do hand over the present and they unwrap it. You see on their face. They are thinking. Gosh is this from M and S? I hope she got a gift receipt. When can I take it back?
  2. Second stress: The Christmas meal.  Over the years I’ve spent many times in the run up to Christmas with recipe books around and watching Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith prepare perfect Christmas meals for their guests who on the TV programmes are always shiny, smiley good looking people. They aren’t like my family at all! Everything looks perfect.  I’ve spent a lot of time cooking for people at Christmas and you know it never quite looks like Delia’s.  
  3. Third stress:  The worry and the guilt about those who aren’t able to enjoy Christmas this year – those who don’t have friends and family at Christmas. Those who are living in war torn countries and I am wondering what can I do for them.  Not much it sometimes seems.  And this year more than most when we read of what is happening in Israel and Palestine and read that Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem are not celebrating as they usually do as they stand alongside those caught up in the war and violence this is more than ever in our thoughts.  

But looking at these “Christmas stresses” there is a common theme.  They are all about things I am trying to do for people – buy the perfect gift, cook a perfect meal, solve the world’s problem by doing something for people. None of them are bad in themselves. We like to buy gifts, we want to show hospitality, we are certainly right to worry about the world and especially those around us who are lonely at this time. 

But the message of Christmas is that it is not about for at all – it is about with.   Christmas is about Emmanuel which means God is with us. God didn’t set this world right at Christmas – there was suffering and pain and violence at the time of Jesus’ birth and there still is.  God doesn’t shower down material wealth and presents on us at Christmas and thankfully he doesn’t get upset when we aren’t grateful for the gifts he does send us. God shows us something else at Christmas.  In Matthew’s Gospel we read that the angel said to Joseph behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and his name shall be Emmanuel that is God is with us (Matt 1:23) and then the powerful words at the beginning of John’s Gospel – “The Word became flesh and lived among us”  

With is the most fundamental thing about God.  Jesus very last words in Matthews Gospel are Behold I am with you always.  There is never a time that God leaves us. From the very beginning of time until the very end of time God is with us.  And so we surely must reflect that with in our own lives and you know with can be a lot harder than for.

Sometimes it’s easier to worry about a present you’ve bought someone than the lack of time you’ve spent with them or it’s easier to worry if the cooking is exactly right than the conversation at the table. And don’t we often find there are so many things on our to do list that we need to do for people  we just don’t have enough time to spend with God in prayer?

We often fear the with because with demands a lot of us. Being with means opening up our own vulnerabilities to others, being with involves finding time to be with others. And with God. Being with can be tough.  Far easier to do things for people.  We stay in control. God has done amazing things for us. Jesus came to earth –he healed, he taught, he gave his life for us and God gave us the comforter the Holy Spirit.   God has never stopped doing things for us but he has done them with us.

At Christmas we celebrate that the Word became flesh and lived among us.  He came to be with us and he has never left us.   When we go back to thinking how hard it is sometimes to be with people and how much easier just to do things for people well, I’m thinking that surely God must feel that way about us – we never listen, we are ungrateful, self absorbed, self destructive so much of the time! But God never gives up on us. God chooses always to be with us. That’s what the Bible tells us, that’s what we experience in our lives.  That’s the amazing news of Christmas. Have a Blessed Christmas. Rev’d Cannon Andrea S Jones

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Thinking of Christmas

Do you look forward to Christmas? Are you the first to put up your tree or your wreath on the door?  Do your ears prick up when you go into a shop and hear those familiar Christmas pop songs from the past already being played?  Some people love Christmas – perhaps it’s the secular side of buying presents and decorating our homes, or the being with family and of course the church services and our carol services.

Yet Christmas is not an easy time for many. Some people will be facing a holiday with an empty seat at the dinner table, maybe for the first time but not necessarily,  time does not always heal.  And those happy Christmas advertisements are difficult for those who perhaps are experiencing a family rift or perhaps just find themselves alone this year. Some of us are feeling the pinch financially and some  people just find the expectation that  they should be happy at Christmas difficult.  

If you feel any of these things you are not alone.  The Christmas story is definitely not about “enforced jollity”.  It is not about “Elf on a Shelf” or a mountain of food or presents.   If you are a person who just finds the whole Christmas thing difficult why not join us on December 10th at 4pm for our Service of Light and Hope.    A time to think and reflect – to feel sad if we want to or simply to enjoy a more quiet time.  We will be turning the volume down on Christmas!

Everyone is welcome.  And even those who do like Christmas with all the bells and whistles – it is just such a busy time why not come along and spend a little time from all that business and preparation? Rev’d Cannon Andrea Jones 3rd December 2023

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A message from our Rector

The call to hospitality and welcome:

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:2

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us Let mutual love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” 

Hospitality and being a place of welcome is at the very heart of the mission of the Church and it is certainly something we try to do here at St Deiniol’s. There is a saying isn’t there “there are no strangers only friends we have not met yet”?  And this is what we want St Deiniol’s to be. A place where everyone can feel at home. 

It is a profound privilege to offer Christian hospitality because in doing so we are representing Jesus to others.   We try to help others recognise Christ by what we do and say.  We are Christ’s hands and feet in the world now.  Christian hospitality is about being Christ in the world.  We should feel honoured, privileged and a bit humble that that is the case. 

But when we offer hospitality – we don’t bring Christ with us as it were.  If we visit someone, Jesus doesn’t arrive at the door with us.  Or if we go up to speak to someone Jesus isn’t tagging along behind.  Jesus is already there.   In every situation.  Jesus is ever present in the world around us. What we are seeking to do is to help others to open their eyes to Jesus, to recognise Jesus in their lives. 

We are givers but we are also receivers.  Others represent and symbolise Jesus to us. Jesus assures us that he himself is present in our lives when we welcome others into our midst. He is also present when others do the same for us.  Other people help us to open our own eyes to Christ too – we are receiving as much as giving.   Jesus is present each and every day in the world and it is in the interaction we have with others that make us aware of that presence and we recognise it in what others offer us.  

Hospitality is about rejoicing in the presence of others.  Reaching out to those around us – church should never be a private club. We are a place where everyone is welcome.  Everything we do should be about being inclusive.  And we should also be ready to be surprised by meeting the presence of Christ in unexpected times and places.  

A conversation at a bus stop can be a moment we recognise the Holy Spirit at work in our lives just as much as when we are in church. 

So, it is important not to limit our hospitality – to have a box in our lives marked “Christian hospitality”.   The most amazing encounters can happen in the unexpected place and with an unexpected person.  For remember there are no strangers only friends we have not met yet. 

It is a huge responsibility as a disciple of Jesus to ensure everyone feels at home in the place where we worship.   Whoever they may be.  We don’t control the guest list – God does.   Anyone can come through our church doors on a Sunday or in the week and be a seeker. To have felt the nudge to join us.   We need to make anyone who does feel called to come through our doors to be at home.  That doesn’t mean smothering people with twenty questions of course – people often come into churches to have some quiet time alone with their thoughts and with God – but it is about people feeling that they are on the guest list – that God wants them to be here. 

St Deiniol’s should always be a place where there are no strangers though there may be some friends that we have not met… Rev’d Cannon Andrea Jones

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The Church year is divided up into seasons many of which are familiar even to none churchgoers – Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter for example.  However, the season of Creationtide which runs from the beginning of September to the beginning of October is less familiar.  Creationtide was adopted by churches in Britain and Ireland in 2008, bringing Christians together to pray and work for the protection of the environment. It is a good time to especially reflect on God’s creation and our response to being stewards of this beautiful planet incorporating as it does the time which most churches celebrate Harvest Festivals and concluding at the Feast of St Francis, a saint well known for his love of creation.

Most of us feel we need to do what we can to respond to what is now often referred to as the climate change emergency and we want to be good stewards of God’s creation. The Church in Wales has made a commitment to reach net zero carbon by 2030.  Yet it can all feel overwhelming.  What can we do? I know I drive a petrol car and at the time of writing I cannot afford to switch to an electric vehicle.  Our church has gas central heating and we are not in a position to change that immediately. But the Church in Wales has made it clear that we need to begin with small steps and build up towards larger targets. 

Here at St Deiniol’s we are working towards receiving our Bronze Eco Award.  You can find out more information about Eco Church at and one thing you might spot are the bird boxes and bug hotels we have installed in our churchyard to encourage the wildlife that make their home there. 

As Christians we are called not only to support our own local communities but to speak out with and for communities most impacted by climate injustice and the loss of biodiversity. Once again, we might think “what can we do?”.  At St Deiniol’s we have been raising money for the charity “Toilet Twinning”.  Lack of good sanitation affects the poorest people in our world.  Bad sanitation means people are more likely to become sickIllness keeps people from working, children miss school, parents have to pay for medicines or food and fall into debt.  Toilet Twinning funds hygiene education via community-led workshops and the sourcing of local materials for families and communities to build their own toilets and you can find out more about it by going to

And the other vital thing as Christians we need to do is to pray – pray specifically for the environment and for a just world that will help all of God’s creation to flourish.  That is what the heart of Creationtide is about – giving ourselves space and time to celebrate and cherish God’s gift to humanity in creation and to pray that we are stirred into action to tread more gently on the earth and care for our shared environment and for each other.  The message of Creationtide has to be that we seek to do what we can to look after God’s wonderful world, even if we feel we are only taking “baby steps”. Every Little Helps as the advertising slogan goes.  Rev’d Canon Andrea Jones, Rector, St Deiniol’s Church, Hawarden

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A Message for Pentecost from the Rector, Rev’d Cannon Andrea Jones

Learning different languages is wonderful but it is rather embarrassing that here in the UK we are so bad at it: even here in Wales where we are a bilingual nation. Other nationalities seem to do it a lot better!  Language is important to communication and it can be a barrier as well as gateway and lead to misunderstanding and conflict. Think of the story of the tower of Babel.

At the Feast of Pentecost we recall events outlined in the Acts of the Apostles where miraculously the disciples were able to speak in all the different languages that were spoken in Jerusalem at that time; and it seems that first century Palestine, rather like Britain today was a multi-cultural nation, where there were loads of different languages being spoken.  And people were amazed to hear their own language.  But even then some people misunderstood – they accused the disciples of being drunk.

It would be wonderful if we could all understand each other’s languages. Even then there could still be misunderstanding because at the end of the day what really matters is communication.  And we live in a world where on the face of it; with mobile phones, social media and the internet, we are more connected than ever; we actually we do not have communion with each other. Instead we have information overload.  

As TS Eliot wrote – Where is the Life we have lost in living? 
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? 
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? 

And social media which in some ways might be thought to help us communicate doesn’t always do so.  It doesn’t encourage us to listen to others who might bring a different perspective to us.  Instead we tend to have friends on Facebook  or follow on Twitter those who think like us. Social media reinforces our prejudices.  Sometimes this can be harmless.  If you saw my Facebook page you would  think the whole world was obsessed with  Anthony Trollope, Miss Marple and the Anglican Church; but there is a darker side to this hidden community. We know it is often through the internet that young people have been radicalised and gone down very destructive paths in life.

In the Gospel of St John Chapter 20, which is often read in churches on Pentecost Sunday, we read that Jesus breathed on the disciples and the very energy  and life of God was given to them.  But no one can receive this amazing gift of the Holy Spirit and remain unchanged. Tremendous energy was released on the day of Pentecost and here today we also have access to the wonderful gifts of the Spirit. 

Now when I was in Manchester there were many Pentecostal Charismatic churches often housed in all manner of buildings – old garages, former chapels and warehouses.  They were full every week of people sharing in the gifts of the spirit – speaking in tongues and being given the gift of prophecy.   However, we do not all experience the Holy Spirit in that way.  But that does not mean that we do not open our hearts more fully to God and let the Holy Spirit in. As Christians we belong together because of the Spirit we share and that I believe means we need to look outwards. 

As Christians we have to look into each other’s eyes and see God there.  We especially have to do that when we meet someone who is different, might look different to us, sound different or who might not fit in our idea of what someone should be wearing or worshipping God.

If we allow spirit to speak to spirit real communication can happen and real understanding will flourish.  

To quote T S Eliot again: What life have you, if you have not life together? There is not life that is not in community. And no community not lived in praise of GOD.  Rev’d Canon Andrea Jones 28 May 2023

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The Legend of the Pelican

Exquisite embroidery on the Ceremonial Cope worn by Rev’d Canon Andrea at the Coronation Thanksgiving service last Sunday

On Sunday 7th May 2023 St Deiniol’s held a special service to mark the Coronation of King Charles III.  As it was such a special service, the clergy team wore three of the beautiful copes which our church owns which are only worn on important occasions. A cope is a liturgical vestment similar in style to a cape or cloak, open in front and fastened with a band or clasp. 

Several people remarked on the embroidery on the back of the cope which Canon Andrea wore.  It features an embroidered white bird, a pelican, which appears to be pecking at its own breast and causing its blood to drip down to three young birds.  Rather a grizzly scene but what does it mean?

The image of the pelican piercing its own breast comes from the belief that the pelican, especially in times of famine, pierces its own breast and feeds its young with its own blood.  In medieval times this came to be seen as a metaphor for Christ’s sacrifice.  The first reference to this seems to have been by the 12th century theologian, Peter Lombard, and it went on to become a popular symbol in Christian art and literature.  The clergy stall in St Deiniol’s has carved bench ends which feature the “pelican of piety”. One of these goes back to the 16th century but the matching bench end was  replaced following the arson attack in 1857.

It is of course just a legend. There is no evidence that pelicans do any such thing!  There is speculation that it could well have derived from the pelican’s red tipped beak and very white feathers.  Pelicans often stand with their beaks resting on their breasts.

Although it is clear that this is just a legend we often see images of the pelican such as the one on the back of our cope: only a legend but one that has led to some beautiful works of art. Rev’d Canon Andrea Jones

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The Woman at the Well

John 4:4-42

Icon referred to by Rev’d Canon Andrea Jones

At a recent Lent Bible study, we spent some time discussing our “go to” passages in the Bible – the stories, poems and songs that we turn to again and again.  We also decided it was important to read and reflect on the passages that we are not so drawn to or shy away from – not all the stories in the Bible are easy!

The story of the woman who meets Jesus at the well has always been one which I have been drawn to.  I had the great privilege of visiting Jacob’s Well where this meeting happened when I was visiting the Holy Land. So when a very generous friend gave me a gift which enabled me to commission an icon by the icon writer, Katherine Sanders, I chose the image of the woman meeting Jesus at the well.

This encounter happens when Jesus and his companions stop at the well whilst travelling through Samaria.  The disciples go to buy food but Jesus stays behind.  A woman comes to draw water from the well and is surprised when Jesus asks her for a drink.  Jews and Samaritans famously did not associate with one another.  Jesus tells the woman that if she knew who he was she would have asked him for living water and that everyone who drinks of this water will never be thirsty. To which she responds “give me that water so that I might never be thirsty again or have to keep coming here to draw water”. 

Jesus also seems to know a lot about her – her personal circumstances, the fact that she is a woman who, at that time, in that society, might be considered to have a rather dubious reputation given that she has had several husbands and is now living with a man she is not married to.

The woman recognises that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah.  She goes and tells her fellow villagers about him and we are told that many believed in Jesus because of her.  Like a number of women who appear in the Gospels, we are not given a name for the woman although I learnt from Katherine that in the Orthodox tradition she is revered as Saint Photini.

This story means a lot to me because it shows us that Jesus is willing to reach out to everyone, regardless of who we are, our backgrounds, or our past.  I get a real sense when reading this passage that Jesus gives this woman his full attention and I wonder how many people in her life would have done that.  It makes me realise that whatever mistakes I feel I have made in my life, the times I have got it wrong, Jesus is reaching out to me too. He wants me to turn to him.  The icon shows Jesus, his hand outstretched to the woman.

It also tells me that we also have to share Jesus’ message of love, however unworthy or anxious we might be about that.  This woman was probably ostracised by many in the village (is that why she was going to the well on her own rather than with the other women?) but she had the courage to approach others and urge them to come and see Jesus.  And many believed because of her testimony.This story for me is a powerful reminder of God’s love and grace – and that love and grace is accessible to all of us and this is not a message to keep to ourselves but to share with others.  Rev’d Canon Andrea Jones

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Advent – the Season of Anticipation

Advent Candles

There is a lot of criticism that Christmas starts far too early.  We may be guilty of this in the Church these days.  In order to get well ahead of the game our Christmas fayres start earlier and earlier.  I noticed there was one held even before the start of Advent in a church not too far from here.  Now I am not going to get critical about that.  We are all trying hard to raise funds and help people gather together after the terrible separation that Covid forced on us.

But there is something about the watching and waiting of the Advent season that I hope will not get lost in the modern day Christmas experience.  I hope we do not lose that sense of anticipation as we await the birth of the Christ child.  Sometimes the feeling of anticipation can actually be better than the event itself when it comes.  Not that I am suggesting that is the case of the Nativity of Our Lord but I have often heard people say that their favourite time is not Christmas Day but Christmas Eve. 

So the waiting and watching for the arrival of the Child Jesus should not be something boring or heavy or bleak.  Advent is a time when we can reflect on the Christian virtues of hope, joy and love.  We go over the familiar story of our faith recalling the patriarchs, the prophets, John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  

I think the experience of  anticipation is best summed up by Winnie the Pooh.  When asked what Pooh like best he responded: “Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”

Finding space for God in Advent does not stop us enjoying the Christmas season but helps us to savour it more. Rev’d Canon Andrea Jones, Rector of St Deiniol’s

An Advent Prayer

Now is the time of watching and waiting

A time pregnant with hope

A time to watch and pray.

Christ our Advent hope,

Remind us to prepare for your coming;

Remind us to prepare for this time

When the soles of your feet touch the ground,

When you will become one of us

To be a one with us.

May we watch for the signs,

Listen for the messengers,

Wait for the good news to slip

Into our world, our lives.

Christ our Advent hope,

Help us to clear the way for you;

To clear the clutter from our minds,

To sift the silt from our hearts,

To move the boulders that prevents us meeting you.

May sorrow take flight,

And your people sing a song of peace

And hope be born again. 

Amen.  Kate McIlhagga

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Is it Stir Up Sunday…

Is it Stir Up Sunday… or the Feast of Christ the King?

In the  Book of Common Prayer – the prayer book going back to the year 1662 that we used to use Sunday by Sunday with its traditional and very beautiful language – the collect for the Sunday before Advent is  as follows: Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  

It was also the weekend that according to tradition people made their Christmas puddings and because of all the mixing and stirring that involved and the opening words of the Collect it became known as Stir Up Sunday.   

Now it is more common to celebrate the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday before Advent.  This feast day was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925.  That can surprise people because  in some ways the festival seems to belong to a much older time   – a time when  church and state were interchangeable and bishops and princes were equally powerful. In  medieval paintings Jesus is often depicted as a  full grown man perched on the Blessed Mary’s  knee. These images date from a time when those in power wanted to impress upon the masses the divine right of kings – the peasants had to be kept in their place and what stronger message could there be especially for those who couldn’t read than to paint Jesus as a powerful monarch even when he is pictured sitting on his mother’s knee.

In  later years –from the time  we call the Enlightenment – our view of the world changed.  We put our faith in human endeavour, it was understood that God had created us with minds and brains to understand things and work things out and this iwas reflected in the way Jesus was painted.  Jesus when pictured with his mother begins to look like a real baby.

So it’s strange that at the beginning of the 20th century when monarchies were collapsing all over Europe, when ordinary working people were beginning to believe that they mattered as much as kings and queens – when people began to see their individual journeys as Christians as being as important as that of their leaders the Pope instituted this festival.

Well you might cynically believe it was to shore up faith in Bishops and Princes, or Popes for that matter,  but this was a time when fascism and totalitarianism was on the rise  with dictatorships across Europe – Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain and even here in the UK there were some people turning towards Oswald Mosely and his Blackshirt movement. 

So it was at this very time Pope Pius instituted this new celebration.  To emphasise if necessary that we do not put our trust in worldly dictators but in Christ.

Very sadly  there are in our own times echoes of the political situation faced by Pope Pius Xi. Here in the UK those working to prevent people being enticed into extremist groups  have seen a rise in those being attracted by Far Right White Supremacist ideology often accessed  through social media.   Across Europe Far Right wing politicians are winning support and in some cases such as Italy and Hungary winning elections.  

We now live in times that are often described as Post Modern where people have lost trust in the traditional figures of authority, when people think they can make their own minds up about anything without recourse to anything other than what “feels” right to them.  At times like this people sometimes, as I believe happened in the 1930s,  look to a simplistic idea which will make everything ordered again –but to seek a simplistic idea that we can turn back the clock to an age which never actually existed anyway is dangerous.  And equally dangerous is only to  use how one feels to make a decision.  We are Christians.  Christ has to be at our centre  and we must look to him to guide our decisions and that includes not just our private morality but how we play our part in our communities and in the public square.  We are facing very difficult times in our community in the coming months and years.  There is a financial crisis which will impact on us and on those living around us.  There is a need for churches to step up and do what we can to help each other and to speak up for what is right – whether that be helping those in need, or welcoming the stranger.  Recall the words in Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats.  When the Son of Man comes in glory he will say to those who are called to sit with him I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.

We know that Christ’s kingdom will only be fully realised when Christ returns to usher in his kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice love and peace. But that does not mean that we have no part to play in beginning to build that kingdom here and now. The injustice and inequalities that we see around us show us we need to act now.

Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, but it is not outside this world entirely either.  Jesus’ kingdom is already present within our world, through the redeeming power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is a kingdom which can be anticipated when we shape our lives in terms of that truth and life, that justice, love and peace which are the signs of the kingdom and of God’s presence.  

So to go back to Stir Up Sunday and the words of the Collect

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works.

Whilst we no longer use that Collect if we are using the modern prayer book we find those self same words in the Post Communion Prayer.

That Collect was written hundreds of years before Pope Pius instituted the festival of Christ the King  but those words are extremely relevant.  Our prayer is that  God will stir us up, that we won’t sit passively or think I can’t do anything about the world around me, or it’s not up to me but to somebody else  –  but rather  we will become active and  go into the world, playing our part in making it a better place and bringing forth the fruit of good works. 

This Feast is a time to recommit ourselves to keep the values of our faith alive, making Christ the centre of our lives whichever prayer book we are using.   Rev’d Canon Andrea Jones, Rector: StDeiniol’s Church

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The Divine Eagle

The psalmist  draws a comforting picture when he says: 
       Keep me as the apple of an eye
       Hide me under the  shadow of thy wings (Psalm 17: 8)

The  common motif throughout the Bible is of God as the divine eagle. References to eagles are made 33 times and only the dove has more mentions at 50. In Judaism the eagle is a sign of strength and Gods protection.  We even read out Bible service readings from a lectern which is shaped like an eagle with outstretched wings supporting the  wisdom and weight of of the years upon its back. The implication is that as we read the Bible our faith will soar.
   As early as Deuteronomy ( 32:11) God is pictured as a mother eagle pushing her offspring out of the nest in order to teach them how to fly. Eagles are great mothers who build their nests in the tall trees away from the prying hands of man. She takes the utmost care to line the nest with the softest feathers she can find. When the eggs hatch and the eaglets are born she gives them her complete and undivided attention. There are websites where you can watch the progress of eagles
She fills the nest with tiny morsels that will keep them going. After several weeks of this tender loving care the mother eagle changes in behaviour. She knows it is time for her eaglets to leave the nest and learn to fly. So, reaching down into the nest she rips out the feathers , breaks up the twigs and overturns the nice comfortable home.  The eaglets we assume are terrified. Presently she nudges one of the eaglets towards the edge of the overturned nest and pushes it out into the air. The little bird falls like a bullet to the ground. Just as it’s about to hit the ground the mother eagle swoops beneath it and catches it on her broad wings and carries it to safety in the sky. Then she tilts her wing and the bird falls once again but as it flaps its wings it discovers it can fly. God does that with us. He pushes us out of our comfortable nest in order that we might expand our wings and soar towards a higher purpose. How many of us would be where we are today if God hadn’t overturned our lives and changed our circumstances.  
    In Isaiah ( 40:25-31) Isaiah says that an eagle soars, not flaps. In our mind, flapping has to do with panic. If someone flaps about it’s usually because they aren’t confident in what they are doing. So we tell them to stop, re-evaluate, calm down and move on.
Sometimes eagles perch on a high rock and wait for a bit whilst testing the winds with their wings. When the winds feel right they will expand their wings and be lifted to greater heights.The same applies to us. Sometimes there is a breeze blowing as we wait for Gods signal to move. When the time is right we will be lifted up and we will have confidence in what we are doing. Life is determined more by our reaction to events rather than our action. When God allows things to come into our lives it is our reaction to the events that determines what happens next. When troubles and decisions  come that affect our lives the Bible tells us to soar not flap.
    When the storm strikes the eagle if it has its wings set in a downward tilt it would be dashed to pieces on the ground. But if its wings are lifted upwards it will rise above the storm. It will go through it just as we go through life’s storms . But if we have our eyes fixed upwards towards God we will go through it and come out the other side perhaps bruised and battered but through it. If we look to the ground we could easily spiral down with mental health issues and disaster because our focus has shifted.  The Psalmist  says ‘hide me’ I think of being protected by Gods outstretched wings of love . I can hear his heart beat the same rhythmical sound that has existed since time began. There is no need to flap or panic our God is constant in all life’s situations.
      I think of Proverbs (25:2)  when he says he hides his most precious gifts so that there is joy when they are found. It is a universal truth that the most valuable treasures are hidden from clear view . The Pearl is hidden within the oyster shell. The diamond is buried deep within the earth. The gold nugget is concealed in a mountain. God plans it so that the greatest treasures are concealed and we have to look for them. So it is with faith. Deep within this church; the faith of its members has lasted down the years.  To fly with the wings of faith takes time to practice: being in the presence of God, our teacher, through prayer  and Bible Reading and meeting with fellow Christian’s.  Please feel free to join us on our faith journey .