This last week we said goodbye to two great friends of St Nicholas. Lady Anthea Craigmyle and Mr John Yerbury.
As many of you know Anthea grew up at the Old Vicarage, her father was the Vicar of St Nicholas during the war. Anthea recently published a wonderful book of her mother’s wartime letters. They give an amazingly clear insight into the workings of a London vicarage during the war. Anthea’s funeral will take place at The Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street RC Church on 18th July at 11am, followed by interment at Chiswick New Cemetery.
Dear John who passed away so suddenly has been a stalwart of St Nicholas for so many years. A PCC member, a Churchwarden, the chairman of Chiswick Parochial Charities and so many other Church groups. John and Anthea were founding members of the Friends of St Nicholas.
The Church is its people, it is the Community of Believers and the Household of God. We are so very grateful to God for the lives of these two wonderful people.
May they Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!
I was sorting through some old papers at the weekend and came across the transcript of a sermon given by Dr Tom Wright, then Bishop of Durham, in Westminster Abbey after the financial crisis back in 2008. One paragraph in particular struck me as equally applicable to our situation today as it was when it was first preached. Bishop Tom said:
“Suddenly a lot of the fixed points by which we were navigating have shifted drastically. We find we now face some stark questions about our own priorities. What sort of people must we be in this troubled time? What do we and the next generation need, to see us through?”
To that question, Bishop Tom offered a single answer: Wisdom.
‘Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; to depart from evil is understanding.’ (Job 28:28)
Bishop Tom explains: “The ‘fear of the Lord’ is not a cringing attitude, as though God were an angry tyrant. It is the proper, wise and wisdom-giving human reaction as we realise again that God is God, that he is saying to us that it’s time to come back and think through what it means to be human. What it means to live as a global community. What it means that actions have consequences.”
I have in mind not only the extraordinary upheaval we have experienced in this country over the past days, but also the horrific and violent events elsewhere around the globe: in Istanbul, Bangladesh, Beirut and Iraq to name just a few countries. Events that have been confined to the inner pages of our newspapers as we agonise over the political infighting within our own country.
That fear of the Lord: the utter and humble respect for that almighty justice and that all-powerful love, embodying that familiar shape which tells us that all we need to know of the true God we see in Jesus Christ and in his Cross and resurrection. That wisdom is now urging us that to depart from evil is true understanding. It warns us that evil is not just the misbehaviour we might get up to in our private lives, but the systems which keep the poor unchanged whilst the rich get richer. The political decisions that have enabled IS to develop such a strong international presence and resulted in the murder of thousands of innocent people.
I believe that all of us can model and offer the God fearing, Jesus-shaped wisdom. This will surely enable us to get our bearings and assist in re-imagining a world in which we can all live with new humility and hope.