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Viewpoint from Rev Jemma Sander-Heys 27/08/2021

JEMMA SANDER-HEYSRev Jemma Sander-Heys
Team Vicar, Great Yarmouth Team Ministry

Do you remember when we used to have only 4 TV channels? What about when we had only 2? My daughter has grown up with dozens of channels and most of what she watches with friends comes from the vast cornucopia of entertainment and information on the internet! I told my daughter how at one time the whole nation would watch a special episode of something and then discuss it the next day – power stations would gear up their output during advert breaks as the entire nation put the kettle on for a cuppa - united in consumption and entertainment!
dove leftSeveral centuries ago, communities generally united around ‘holy-days’ –festivals and saints days of the Christian year. Holy days were official days off so most fun activities were scheduled for those special days –a Michaelmas Fayre or an Easter Parade or a special festival at Whitsun were regular traditions… And though on those days, many would certainly gather for a church service to hear the ‘reason for the season’ more importantly for the wider community afterward, everyone would go on for the rest of the day meeting up, feasting and courting, celebrating and having fun with friends and neighbours, all decked in their best clothes, to make the most of that ‘high day’ or ‘holy day’. It’s where we get the word ‘holiday’ from
Dove rightNowadays, communal times of celebration are fewer. Like the media, there is so much choice about what to celebrate or attend to and many people carefully ‘curate’ their choices…seeing them as expressing a public identity for others to measure … So an urge to explore the Christian faith more seriously maybe a harder choice to admit to than a new diet, creative skill or a couch to 5k plan – though all may feel a bit risky to admit because by owning them, we risk the judgement of our peers.  Christianity will never make anyone fit in- even centuries ago; people who took their faith seriously were often ridiculed – like Margery Kempe – who set of from Yarmouth on pilgrimage in the 1400s, seeking religious experience. Christianity is odd, not a crowd-pleaser even with hot-cross buns and Christmas presents – Jesus was executed and most people who choose to follow Jesus have found themselves persecuted at some point– many to death. So what is its lasting appeal? …God alone knows the truth – maybe we can know some of it too

also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury


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