Vicar's Letter

We get quite used to things changing in church. As the seasons change the colour of the frontals and the things worn by the priest change colour. We notice that some of the words in the service change, or parts of the service are left out, omitted, at times of the church year. In Advent and Lent purple is the colour of the season. At Easter and Christmas it is white or gold. Green marks out ordinary time, those Sundays from Trinity onwards. But then we notice that occasionally red is worn. Red is used for saints and martyrs but it also is used at a season that has not long been defined. This is the Kingdom Season.

The Kingdom Season is a really useful addition to the Calendar. That's because the Gospels talk a great deal about the Kingdom of God. Of course, it's not a place, it's an idea. It might be called the Reign of God, giving us the idea of a way of being, a state of the world, where God reigns. We all long for such a reign in one way or another. For example, on Remembrance Sunday – in the Kingdom Season – we remind ourselves of the need for peace and justice in the world; and oh how we need that! Such peace and justice happen when God reigns, when the Kingdom of God is present on earth. This is very much how Jesus talks about the Kingdom in his many parables. Alongside peace and justice, God's Kingdom contains mercy, compassion, forgiveness, freedom and countless other things. These are things that every good person would want for the world. The world put right. When we pray "Your Kingdom come, your will be done‟ in the Lord's Prayer, we are praying for these beautiful gifts to come to us, to our community and to our world. We pray too that we would play our part in making the Reign of God come.

But, as we can tell, the Reign of God is not yet come. And we wonder just how it might. So the Kingdom Season can remind us that God's purpose in bringing his Reign into being is achieved by a king and Jesus is that king. The Kingdom comes not through military power or political fight, but through the loving suffering of Jesus and God raising him from the dead. It is not for nothing that the Kingdom Season ends with the Feast of Christ the King. The goal of our service and the heart of God's mission is to see "all things hold together in Christ". (Colossians 1.17)

So as we listen to the bible readings this November: they point to the King and the Kingdom. And when you pray those words in the Lord's Prayer, pray that you might be a means through which God might become King of our world.

In the Church of England, "the period between All Saints' Day and the First Sunday of Advent is observed as a time of celebration and reflection on the reign of Christ in earth and heaven”.

In the Church of England liturgical colours are recommended but not mandatory, so while red is encouraged during this period, individual churches may continue to use green until Advent. This period, called All Saints to Advent in the Church of England's liturgical material, is often nicknamed Kingdomtide or the Kingdom Season. (Common Worship, C of E)

Change can be a challenge for us. We like things to remain the same, familiar, "what we are used to." But change can also teach us, lead us and allow us to grow. Unless things change in life we do not progress and move forward. Nobody wants to be stale or static!

Blessings this Kingdomtide.
Fr Michael