Frensham Village Churches

Letter from the Vicarage - March2018


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Well, we are well into the season of Lent now and one word has been playing on my mind throughout my journey of prayer, learning and exploration of faith at this time, and that word is CHARITY.

Obviously we often give more to charities as part of our Lenten devotion and discipline, and we practically help those who are in need in other ways by giving compassionate care, and this is all good. But there is also great potential when contemplating the origins of the word CHARITY for theological learning, growth of spirituality and connectedness with God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which perhaps will take our celebrations on 1st April (Easter Day) to a new height.

At the start of Lent I read Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13 in the New Testament. I read it from the Book of Common Prayer wherein the traditional word CHARITY is used instead of the more modern word ‘love’ (many people use this at their marriage service as it is quite well known and words about love are always good at a wedding!). The passage sounded and felt very different with the word Charity and it made me very thoughtful about God, so, as it is Lent, I thought I’d share my reflection with you all

“Love in its truest sense seems to be about the active energy of compassion, care and concern of that which is about both self and that which is ‘other’.  Both ‘self and other’ get rewards as it were: rewards of receiving love, knowledge, learning and all grow through the process of loving.  But, when the word CHARITY is used, it feels as if the utter constant and continual ‘Being’ of God becomes more apparent and more present.  Whereas ‘love’ seems more the process; CHARITY seems more the Origin, seems more the ‘Face’ – as in ‘then we shall see face to Face…’ (1 Cor 13:11).  Charity appears to be that which is behind love giving… virtually the Being from which love comes…

From this we can comprehend that God is constantly and eternally pouring out the ‘Godself’ for all life.

But God neither needs nor seeks reward… God’s Charity is pure giving. God doesn’t need to receive.  It is by God’s Charity that we have been, and are constantly, given life.  It’s quite interesting to think of the ‘Big Bang’ – the beginnings of life - as the very Charity of God – pure and utter creative giving. It’s also very interesting to think of the whole created universe as the very Charity of God. Logically if everything came from God’s being, then everything remains part of God’s being throughout all development and evolution. We are all made of God’s stardust, as it were - everything belongs to the Divine Cosmos!

Therefore if you think about it, the incarnate God - Jesus Christ - is an entirely natural emanation of God’s Charity, God’s original Being – Jesus Christ is indeed of the same ‘substance’ as God. What makes Him stand out is His conscious awareness, infinite knowledge and utter connectedness with God even now – Jesus Christ is indeed ‘Anointed’ as the title Christ means. 

A friend once said to me, “Jesus was way ahead of His time!” to which I replied, “Actually He was both way before His time, as well as ahead of His time!” It also says in the Bible (Paul’s letter to the Romans Chapter 5 verse 6), “at the right time Jesus died for the ungodly…”

When you think about it, we’re all a pretty ungodly bunch really because during His human existence  God’s Charity in Christ Jesus was ungraciously tortured, humiliated and cruelly exterminated by humans in the crucifixion… No wonder the earth trembled and there was an earthquake… it is a wonder that creation did not cease to be…

But, and as we know, Good Friday was and is not the end of the story because if Charity is both the origin and the Ever Presence of all creation and evolution, then Charity is the means by and into which Christ was resurrected on Easter Day. This revelation means we can say “Hurrah!” and thank God for God’s Charity and the joy it brings…”

Do come and celebrate with us with fizz and fun on Easter Day 1st April!

With love and prayers,