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Several centuries ago in a mountain village in Europe, a wealthy nobleman wondered what legacy he should leave to his townspeople. He made a good decision. He decided to build them a church. No one was permitted to see the plans or the inside of the church until it was finished. At its grand opening, the people gathered and marvelled at the beauty of the new church. Everything had been thought of and included. It was a masterpiece. But then someone said, “Wait a minute! Where are the lamps? It is really quite dark in here. How will the church be lighted?” The nobleman pointed to some brackets in the walls, and then he gave each family a lamp, which they were to bring with them each time they came to worship. “Each time you are here'” the nobleman said, “the place where you are seated will be lighted. Each time you are not here, that place will be dark. This is to remind you that whenever you fail to come to church, some part of God’s house will be dark”.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 9, Jesus looks out on the crowd and has compassion on them.He sees that they are helpless and are like sheep without a shepherd. He tells His disciples that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.

We are called to be those labourers.We invite the crowds to join us on our pilgrimage, and we show them how are lives have been changed. As Christians, as members of St Oswald’s, we endeavour to give ourselves in such a way that we CAN make a difference in the lives of others.

So what is Christ calling you to do in order to follow Him? How do we, each of us, discover our true selves, other than by giving of ourselves to the service of others? Our time together on Sundays lights one part of the Church. We then take that lamp with us when we go about our day and we light the world around us. Val and I are pleased to be on this journey with you.We invite you to join with us each Sunday and fill your lamps, not for personal use, but for the service of others.

May St Oswald’s be a bright beacon of Hope for the community around us- together we will light the dark places around us.