Giles writes

    
Dear friends,

The Presentation begins this month and reminds us how Jesus is not only the sign of the New Covenant, or agreement, with God but that he is also connected, intimately, with the Old Covenant, going right back to father Abraham.
In the early days of Christianity there were those who found the God of the Old Testament too angry and bloodthirsty to see any similarities with the God of whom Jesus speaks.
But the Gospels go to great lengths to make it very clear that Jesus walks out of the Old Testament and begins the New Testament.
There is no separation, only continuity.
The God of the Old Testament is just as loving and caring as in the New, and the God in the New Testament can be just as angry and judgemental, when his laws are cast aside, as in the Old.

God loves us very deeply and he wants us to return that love with the same intensity and depth.
We can only do that if we are fully committed to God and to his Kingdom, which means his laws and his commandments as well.
That is the same in both parts of the Bible and is very much what Jesus proclaims.
As Simeon blesses Jesus we see the blessing of the Old Covenant upon the New, because Simeon symbolises that Old Covenant.

As we live under the New Covenant, where sins can be forgiven through our signs of regret and our prayers through Jesus, we too are blessed by that whole tradition of God's care for his people and his continuing loving faithfulness.
We see signs of new growth and hope, just as Simeon and Anna did when the baby Jesus was brought to them.
As this year begins we are starting to advertise for a families and children's worker at Church of the Ascension, in Wall Heath.
We are hoping to strengthen our links to Church of the Ascension Primary School and to build up our family worship in Jigsaw and our fortnightly Church Club (WAS).

We are also welcoming a new minister into our parish, David Cousins, who has been a Lay Reader in Birmingham diocese for 20 years or more.
He will be working mainly at Church of the Ascension but he will also come down to St Mary's from time to time.
We look forward to receiving his ministry across the parish.

The Presentation was a sign of hope to people who were waiting for a Prophet or a Messiah.
The sign that they were given was Jesus, the Son of God. These new events in our parish ministry are signs from God that he has not forgotten us either.
As we begin this New Year may we travel in hope, commitment to the Gospels and determination to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

With love,
Giles