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Woodstock Baptist Church

Secretary: Nick Archer
Services: 10.30am

A favourite Christmas reading commences with these words "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God..." John 1

All quite mysterious and puzzling at first reading John's prologue sketches out what his Gospel will reveal. It rewards those who begin to seek God within its pages - the author's intention is that those who read will be enabled to believe or continue to believe.

A lovely news item hit the news in the some time ago and was brought to my attention by the Church Mouse blog and asks where it all began...

Apparently the story goes that a six year old girl called Lulu, who attends a Church school, wrote a letter to God as part of a class exercise asking how God was 'invented'.

Her father was impressed with the letter, and wanted to encourage her, so sent the letter on to the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Scottish Catholic Church, the Presbyterians and the Church of England at Lambeth Palace.  The Catholics replied with a theologically complex letter, whilst the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Presbyterians didn't answer (as far as I am aware the Baptists were not asked).

As for the Church of England, the letter somehow made its way to Rowan Williams' inbox, and here's how he responded.

Dear Lulu,

Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It's a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this -

'Dear Lulu - Nobody invented me - but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn't expected.

Then they invented ideas about me - some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints - specially in the life of Jesus - to help them get closer to what I'm really like.

But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!"

And then he'd send you lots of love and sign off.

I know he doesn't usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf. Lots of love from me too.

+Archbishop Rowan

Children are still asking wonderful questions about God because life is full of wonder and awe for them. Soon enough the world will try its best to squeeze this out of their lives through pressures such as secular values, consumerism, family crisis and performance driven education but I hope there will still be found a place to ask and find answers to the wonder-full & mysterious questions of life.

As you pass through the Christmas season may you know something of this wonder and rejoice in the knowledge that God is with us - far closer than we might at first think.

A very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year