Dear Friends across our Parish
Greetings as at last summer seems to be upon us – or at least for today – as the sun shines brightly and warmly through the vicarage study window. Much has happened since our re-opening from the last lockdown. At Marown we had a community wide service to mark the death of Prince Philip, we have celebrated our church anniversaries at Marown and St Luke’s and have held our annual church meetings in the right month (last year we had to defer them until August.) Spiritually we have celebrated Ascension and Pentecost and now look forward to hearing again of the life and ministry of Jesus as we grow in faith – hence, the liturgical colour changing to green for growth.
Last month I wrote about ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, the prayer wave that called for God’s reign to come more fully on earth. In the same edition Heather wrote about the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) where St Paul explains that these are the result of the Holy Spirit at work in us, moulding us into the people of God’s own character. Keeping those thoughts in mind, in my annual report to our parish I highlighted the need for us to have a spirit of love and forgiveness in the wake of the pandemic and the many challenges that face society generally and our churches in particular. Faced with uncertainties of many kinds a natural response may be to grasp tightly the things/places/people we like and feel safe with but this risks alienating us from other people or areas of society and entering a ‘blame game’ when things go wrong. Jesus lived in very troubled times too. Deadly disease was a constant danger, his homeland was under foreign occupation, most people were very poor, scraping together food and the necessities of life. The poor blamed the rich, the pious blamed the sinners and nearly everybody blamed the Romans.
Jesus was different. He recognised the reality of the situation but combated the challenges with love and forgiveness. He interacted with people from every area of society; eating with sinners, curing the sick (even if they were considered ritually unclean), keeping company with ‘unsavoury characters’, forgiving the corrupt. Jesus did point out hypocrisy and double standards as he taught about justice, but he never turned his back on anyone in need, no matter who they were. Moreover, Jesus grounded all his ministry in worship and prayer.
Jesus is the model we seek to emulate as individual Christians and as a Church. We welcome those who think, act and behave differently from us, in a spirit of trying to understand them and see God at work in them and through them without trying to make them copies of ourselves. We need to commit ourselves anew to worship and prayer as a priority in our lives, especially on Sundays and other holy days. The kind of society we evolve into as the pandemic eases will be a greater test of our communal and personal character than how we survived the lockdown days and have far longer-term repercussions. The months ahead are an opportunity for us as Christians to show what the world could be like, kinder, fairer, forgiving and hope filled.
Every blessing for the month ahead