“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God..." John 1: 1
J.B. Phillips, a 20th century Church of England clergyman, wrote: "Christianity begins with a historical fact, indeed its starting point is the most important event in the whole of human history. The Christian religion asserts that nearly 2,000 years ago God...visited this small planet of ours in Person. Naturally, the only way he could do this was by becoming a human being, and this is precisely what Christians believe that he did. That God so asserted Himself into the stream of human history, and that we are consequently living on a visited planet, are statements audacious enough to take the breath away... But this is where Christianity starts, this is the rock on which it is founded."
By the time you are reading this, the Christmas season will be in full swing. In a year that has been punctuated in every way by the effects of coronavirus, we are having to adapt old traditions to new ways of being. Family and social gatherings are being mediated with socially distanced protocols, online shopping is replacing trips to the malls, and travel of every kind is being strongly discouraged. Our worship life has certainly been affected in this time of Covid 19 with various limitations and restrictions, all in place to protect us from this dreadful virus. As we have, and continue to face this time of pandemic, it is truly a challenge to embrace, much less proclaim, the Good News of which J.B. Phillips writes.
At first glance, the prologue to John’s gospel announces in subtle, almost muted tones, the Incarnation of our Lord and Saviour. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Unlike his colleague Luke, John does not include angels, shepherds, or a manger in his proclamation… simply the Word. And perhaps this is where the statement by Rev. Phillips breaks down, for while the news of Jesus’ birth is, as he says, “life-changing and breath-taking”, the Incarnation is not about a visiting, far off God who dropped in to help us out along the way. The Incarnation of God, Emmanuel, is the story of God who was in the beginning of creation, of God who, by way of the Virgin Mary, walked among us, and of God who, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, continues to be present with us. Herein lies the Good News for we, who find ourselves feeling not unlike those to whom Isaiah was speaking, as those walking in darkness and desperately seeking light, release, and relief. Ours is a God who is truly Emmanuel, truly present in every time and place.
If this is your first visit, it is a joy to welcome you to our Cathedral web site. Perhaps you are looking to find the presence of God in your own life journey, a search that in the midst of the noise and confusion of our age, can at times seem overwhelming. Maybe we can be of some assistance. Contained within this site are examples of the ministry that we share as the cathedral church of St. Paul’s. We enjoy a wonderful mix of young and old, those who are new to the faith, as well as those who are mature Christians. In the midst of a wonderful blend of personalities comes the blessing of a variety of gifts and ministries. May the information you find here encourage you in your own faith journey. We invite you to come and make your spiritual home with us at St. Paul’s, but pray that wherever you are, you will find a Christian community where you can deepen your faith, and explore what it is that God is calling you to. Wherever you are, your prayers for the ministry of the people of St. Paul’s Cathedral are appreciated, and know that you will be in ours.
We are thankful for the people of St. Paul’s, who offer their gifts for the ministry of the church as we seek to live out the commission that our Lord gave to us all, and we are thankful that you have visited us here… we wish you every blessing as you continue your journey in faith.