I’ve just returned from two days with my father in Manchester. Or to be precise, I spent two days with the hospice authorities arguing for my father’s best interest. I now have to return to Manchester tomorrow for a meeting at 2pm to decide what is in my dad’s ‘Best Interest’. This is uncharted territory for me and if I’m honest a little bit daunting. The man who for most of my life made decisions on a regular basis now becomes almost the child for whom decision have to be made. Questions such as “Am I doing the right thing? What would dad want? Will this make him more comfortable, or will this frighten him?” are all rushing through my mind. Although my Father did make decisions regularly, like many Working Class Northern men, he accepts authority without question, “Their advice must be correct, the’re a doctor…” Thank God the recent assisted dying bill failed, although there were protections, I could just imagine my father agreeing to a suggestion which had catastrophic consequences, without properly thinking it through, just because it was suggested by a person in authority. It sends a shiver down my spine and makes me acutely aware of my responsibility. Thankfully a few often quoted lines from preaching are at the forefront of my mind. “If we are made in the image of God then we all have value, dignity and worth and all of life has value; the good, the bad and the confused.
Please keep dad and I in your prayers
On Sunday you wouldn’t have seen me at St Nick’s; I was at All Saints, South Acton in the morning and then at St John the Baptist, Holland Road, Kensington in the evening. Two very different churches but one of the things that struck me was how actually the body of Christ – wherever we gather, is one big united family – we just gather in different and scattered places. We do things differently but fundamentally we do the same things. I have preached before about diversity in the church and those who claim ecclesiological or liturgical superiority. “My” brand or way of doing God is better than yours! I have certainly been guilty of that in the past and to some extent I still find myself wriggling my nose at certain churches or practices within the Church of England. And in that respect, I’m not much different from the disciples in Sunday’s Gospel who condemned those who did deeds in Jesus’s name because he wasn’t one of them. Jesus, rightly, told them to get a life! A wise old Archbishop friend of mine once reminded me “There are many ways to meet with the Divine…”
There is much going on at St Nick’s over the coming months. The Pet Blessing on Sunday afternoon at 3.00pm will be great fun – do come along if you can. This is our third year now of running this service and nothing – so far! – has gone wrong. Eva Schloss for Conversational Evensong on the 18th October (6.00pm) promises to be another powerful evening and our Harvest Fair on Saturday 10th October will be an important fundraiser for our Development Appeal. Suzette is still looking for helpers and contributions – please do get in touch with her if you are able to help out.
We are blessed to gather and worship together in a wonderful community in a special part of London. As Peter remarked to Jesus on top of the mountain “Lord, it is good for us to be here!”
With every blessing,