If you look at the outside board at either church you will see a shield painted on it showing a man with a sword in his mouth at one end. This is the diocesan shield for our diocese of Chichester.  But who is the man?

The man shown is Jesus Christ, God the Son, and this curious picture is based on a description of Him at the start of the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. The writer of the book, traditionally St John the apostle, badly needed some encouragement because he and his fellow Christians were being badly treated by the Roman Emperor. Jesus appears to John like a royal figure with a long robe and a golden girdle who can even hold the stars in his right hand. It is a reminder that Jesus is very much in control even if we don’t always feel the presence of God. In Advent one of the things we look forward to is when Jesus Christ the king returns, in glory, to make sure that good publicly wins once and for all over all that is bad.

The hands that are holding the stars, of course, are also the hands that the healed people when Jesus was on earth. ‘Jesus’ hands were king hands doing good to all’ was one of the songs I used to sing at school. We are also preparing, in Advent, for Christmas when we give thanks for the fact that Jesus, God the Son, stepped into our human shoes to be born as a little child. As a baby he must have had his child held by others and as a man he used his hands for good.

But what about the sword described in Jesus’ mouth. Was he a sword swallower too? The answer too that is no. The sword is a reminder that the words spoken by Jesus, out of His mouth are powerful ones which deserve to be listened to. The coming Christmas message of God coming amongst us is a wonderful one that certainly deserves to be listened to.

A blessed Advent to you all,

Father Michael

Posted By: valerie

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