Letter from the Vicarage - July 2017
BLESSINGS FROM THE VICARAGE
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am writing my July letter somewhat earlier than usual (for various reasons) – today is 8th June – Election Day. I don’t know what the outcome of the elections will be and I have yet to vote, which I will do when I have finished typing! Elections always mean change and so in a way the future is uncertain. But honestly, hasn’t there been so much uncertainty and unsettledness and upset in the world, and particularly in our country lately? What with terrible stabbings, crazed and aggressive vehicle drivers and fundamentalist suicide bombers taking innocent lives here and injuring many; what with our real fear that the NHS will collapse under impossible pressures as people live longer and expect to be healthier (even if they don’t take responsibility for their own health); what with Donald Trump pulling out of the summit for ecological care to reduce global warming and pollution; what with the refugee crisis and death toll from the cruelty and violence in Syria reaching untenable levels; what with floods; what with famine; what with economic crises causing governments to fall out with each other or gather unmanageable global debt; what with homelessness, what with increasing mental illnesses… So many ‘what’s’ – but here is one more.
‘What’ can help us change for the better?
Because, let’s face it, we seem to have got ourselves in a right mess, don’t we? (I do get it that some may think here, “Well, we didn’t contribute to the mess!” But that is not the point, because ultimately we all contribute whether directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously) – none of this is about blame (which gets us nowhere), it is about the fact that we all have to live on this fragile planet and we just don’t seem to be able to do that: we don’t seem to be valuing our planet, or each other, enough. Resources are running out through our greed and our lack of vision is putting future life in jeopardy.
I visited, and was caring for, a bereaved lady the other day, and one of her comments was, “Why is life so complicated?” and I said, “It wasn’t made complicated – God made life to be quite simple, it is us that has made it complicated.” When you pare it back to what is really important – the key things that God created which should underpin our existence - Life itself, love and relationship – we can see just how out of kilter we are.
We need that Authority that loves us and forgives us unconditionally to bring us back into kilter. We need that which is both beyond us and yet with us, that holds not only this life but also Eternal Life within Itself, because without it, all life will fail. I wrote last month about having a ‘both/and’ attitude rather than and ‘either/or’ which causes segregation, selfishness, violence and ultimately death. The point of God and the dynamic relationship of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (and particularly Jesus Christ through whom our connection to God is made), was that Jesus Christ was both human and divine to reveal to us how all life can be balanced for the present time and for the future. Jesus Christ was utterly connected throughout not only His life but also throughout His death and beyond, revealing the Eternal Life Continuum – some people might call this heaven. Heaven was revealed to us in this life, not so that we can make our own way to glory by killing any of God’s creations - sadly this is an utter perversion of any true faith belief about heaven – No – heaven was revealed to help us live in a ‘both/and’ way. When we say The Lord’s Prayer – we say ‘Thy kingdom come on earth as in heaven’ – there is no either/or. If people are fighting their way to get into heaven, killing others in the process, then something really needs to change on earth about our attitudes.
There are many physical, practical, and psychological ways in which we ourselves can try to rebalance our lives to try to make them more secure and safe now – voting may even be part of this process - but without being balanced in Spirit as well, which means being connected to God -however God may be understood in any language/science/music/creation - and each other and everything, (which means peaceable dialogue, conversation and development with people of all faiths and none) we will never grow to true maturity of being, which brings the ultimate safety of life. When bad things happen to good people (here I can speak from experience as my beloved brother was killed by the I.R.A. in 1989), there is much fear, emotion, practicalities, etc. to work through, but connecting with that Authority within whom is Eternal Life (also with much learning and prayer), is the One ‘What’ that truly brings peace and hope for the future.
With prayers, love and blessings,