Letter from the Vicarage - April 2016
BLESSINGS FROM THE VICARAGE
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
"You put your right hand in! Your right hand out! – In! Out! In! Out! – You shake it all about!"
Now some of you may be thinking that this month I am writing about an old fashioned communal dance (that used to be such fun - why don’t we do it anymore, I wonder..?) or perhaps even something about the impending European Referendum – whether to be in or out of the European Union - possibly becoming a difficult decision as the information given has thus far been so ambiguous…?
But no, actually what I am wondering is, did Lent, Holy Week and/or Easter make any difference to you or your lives? Did you have a time of learning and revelation? Did you manage a time of self – discipline and practising The Way of love, peace, etc.? Do you feel anything has changed?
Change is hard for everyone for many reasons, not least because we like routine and security, and hate being frightened – and some are in fear of change, thinking it all bad. But actually it is very healthy to change and evolve – indeed it is essential for Life and, realistically, it is happening all the time anyway – just look at nature!
Looking at our lives we learn and change through different states of awareness and in what we value, so…
- initially, when we are born we need to survive, we value particularly our mothers, then fathers
- we then become aware of, and value, our family or ‘tribe’ (‘terrible twos’ onwards)
- we then become more self-aware and value ourselves (teenagers who know everything…!)
- we then develop a greater sense of right and wrong, good and evil - this is where the majority of humanity stays because it can make them feel more secure (but can be a very judgemental and divisive stage that we may remain in for life – sadly many churches/other faith communities have got stuck in this place)
- if we develop through the previous stage, we might become more ambitious and value learning or research – and this can be for self or for the greater good of life
- we can then become more widely aware and value our planet, each other, the rich tapestry of life in general and have a more wise, broader view of life (be part of the green party, charities or Greenpeace)
- a very, very few develop further than this – but some have a totally universal view that encompasses body, mind and spirit in a virtually completely connected way and so they value diversity and difference and can live in harmony with everything in a totally balanced body, mind and spiritual way.
How do we develop from one stage to the next?
Through experiences of love, times of difficulty/suffering or a combination of both… But generally something has to ‘give’ to allow something new to come in, as it were; something has to be let go of, or be emptied out, to make room for the next thing; something has to die so that there can be resurrection…
All these processes can be truly challenging, but they are made harder if we cling to ‘stuff’ – be it physical belongings, grudges or mental anguishes. And some people are so stuck that they live in fear or depression with all this and need professional or medical help.
But there is hope, because once there is a realisation of ‘being stuck’, this is the beginning of a new awareness and potential for learning through the challenging, difficult or loving time. Key experiences that enable this are birth of a baby, baptism, confirmation, meeting someone and falling in love, marriage, separation, divorce, illness, treatments, death, etc. And all these can be positive or negative experiences depending on whether love is present, what the suffering may be, what support is given to get through and how developed one is so far.
Now all this might sound simply like psychology or general secular thoughts to you, but actually as I expounded that Jesus Christ is The Way in my last letter, our lives are inextricably linked to His - Jesus Christ literally shows the way for our human development, which is why the Christian story of Lent, Holy Week and Easter has global, if not universal, significance. We journey through life with experiences just as Jesus did – but, His death and resurrection are the key to Ultimate Life that can be lived in this life, and His Life declares to all that we are body, mind and spirit, and death is not the final frontier. Wonderfully we can know this within the life we live now because by this we understand God is in all life and no-one is God-forsaken at any stage – God loves us and meets us where we are because God is in the process of recovery. This knowledge can totally change our lives from sorrow to joy…
And, returning to my ‘right hand in, right hand out’ original words: it is not that some are in or some are out – Christ died and rose again for all! This development is for everyone to have hope, love, learning and life! How amazing is that?
What do you think now?
Happy Post Easter Everyone!
With love and prayers,