Welcome + Worship + Witness

The Rector: First Pastoral Letter

Revd Nicholas Mercer

Bolton Abbey Parish Magazine

April 2019

First Pastoral Letter

I have now been back in the United Kingdom for nearly three months after a year in the South Atlantic. Spring is finally emerging from the gloom of winter, but it goes without saying that we are all living in a world of uncertainty. 29 March has now been replaced by 12 April and an uncertain political future still lies ahead. I have been joking with the Leeds Diocesan Office that my move to Bolton Abbey may coincide with the imposition of martial law and this might delay the removal company. Thanks to the EU last week, I think we may now get through!

Uncertainty however is a factor in all our lives. Each New Year we wish each other a happy New Year not knowing what will unfold. Very often our fears are unfounded and we worry unnecessarily. On the other hand, we can be suddenly overcome, reminding us of our mortality and, above all, our reliance on Almighty God.

Not knowing what the future holds is an inevitable part of starting any new job. I was uplifted however by the very warm welcome that you gave to me a fortnight ago. This has greatly lifted my spirits and was like the arrival of spring. However, feeling apprehensive is part of our human condition and one wouldn’t be human if not to be nervous about any new beginning. The journey of faith reflects the human predicament. We are journeying through Lent, a time of great trial, and an uncertain political and personal future lay ahead of our Lord two thousand years ago. He was right to be nervous. However, the majesty of our faith is that we know how events subsequently unfolded and I believe our faith provides us with the certainty we need through the uncertainty of our lives.

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, 15, he triumphantly proclaims the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This fact changes our world forever. The Resurrection provides a radically different paradigm through which all our lives must be seen. If Christ rose from the dead, we know that there is both an earthly and heavenly kingdom. If Christ rose from the dead, we know that even death can be overcome. All our earthly troubles are but nought. We know that our Redeemer lives. We very much look forward to joining you on 01 April.