December 2023

Sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas

Scripture Readings

The Gospel of John has no shepherds directed by angels nor magi guided by a star. There is no baby born to bewildered parents. Instead, we are given what seems closer to a God’s eye view of the Christmas story. The eternal Word of God, the One through whom all things were made and by whom all things are sustained, came into the world, becoming flesh and blood and living among us, in the form of Jesus Christ. The details of how it all came about seem not to matter much to John the Evangelist, the mystic who seems more interested in what it all means.

Feast of Holy Innocents – Volmoed 2023

Readings for the day

Today a few things come together that may not seem to have much in common. We are in the Octave of Christmas. And today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which is part of Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth. It is also, as chance would have it, the twentieth anniversary of my Monastic Profession in the Order of the Holy Cross.  

1st Sunday of Advent 2023 

Readings for the day

Well – happy new year! That big event coming up where all the world watches a lighted globe drop atop a building at Times Square and fireworks at the V&A waterfront, or in various places (and, giving my ancestors their due) celebrates Hogmanay, is all an imposter. In the Church Year – the one that matters – the first Sunday of Advent is the beginning of a new year, the true new year… The church has no grand title for the year of our Lord 2024. It’s just humble year B… but a new year nonetheless… 

Now if we go hang about the Whale Coast Mall, everything will assure us that this season is all about getting ready for Christmas, the coming of Jesus into the world. I’m not sure our retailing brothers and sisters are all that clear about Jesus’ role in the season. But it is beautiful and comforting to have decorations and Christmas Trees strewn about, so I’m all for it. This world could use a little comfort. 

November 2023 News

November saw two distinct improvements in the transport infrastructure affecting movement to and from Volmoed. First, a bridge over the nearby national road was repaired, allowing traffic to move along that road again, thus reducing traffic volumes that had made travel along the lengthy unpaved detour road not only unpleasant but dangerous. Second, movement along the main road through the bottom of the valley became possible again, once the single-lane bypass around the damage resulting from the storm of late September was completed.

The immediate benefit of these improvements, apart from ease of access to areas beyond the valley from Volmoed, was that people from those areas could once again come to Volmoed relatively easily. There has been a noticeable increase in attendance of the Thursday and Sunday morning church services since, with those who had found themselves unable to come to Volmoed after the storm expressing their delight at being here again.