8th November 2016

fr_simonDear Friends

I need hardly say to you that the news from the US this morning came as something of a disappointment!

So it was with a heavy heart that I came this morning to pray with Mother Eileen. Almost the first thing we uttered came from Psalm 42 vs 6

“Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul,
and why are you so disquieted within me.”

I have to say I felt a temptation to shout out loud in a sarcastic voice “Don’t you know why”

I believe in compromise, I believe in cooperation, I believe that living on this earth necessarily demands that we find effective strategies to live alongside each other, that it must involve compromise and yes that dreaded word relativism. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth, but together, united, it is possible for us to find the truth. I believe in equality, I believe in inclusivity, I believe in diversity  I believe in the rights of LGBT people to live and love in peace, I believe in the rights of all people of colour to live and flourish. I detest discrimination in any form, I detest the racism which destroys so many lives, I detest violence as a solution to our problems and the arrogance that wealth can create in some people. And why do I believe in these such outdated ideas?

Because I believe in the Word made flesh. In a God who came to live among us in the person of Jesus, that he lived and died to proclaim ‘liberty for captives, to set the downtrodden free and to proclaim a year of the Lord’s favour.’ In other words I believe in a God who loves us, ALL of us.

So perhaps I’ve not proclaimed this loud enough from the house tops, perhaps I’ve been too quiet when I have encountered the casual racism and discrimination which invades so many of our conversations. Perhaps I’m guilty of a naive belief that goodness is so self-obvious that it doesn’t need fighting for. Well, perhaps this is a wake up call, who knows.

The following verse says

“O put your trust in God;
for I will yet give him thanks who is my countenance and my God.” (psalm 42 v 7)

In God we trust!

Simon


Dear Friends

On Friday this week it is Armistice Day, and in churches throughout the country on Sunday, now known as Remembrance Sunday, we shall be commemorating those who fought  – and are still fighting – in wars for their country.  As I am sure many of you will know, Armistice Day is the anniversary of the day that World War 1 ended in 1918, when the armistice was signed between the Allies of World War 1 and Germany in Compiègne , Northern France, at 5am. Six hours later the fighting stopped, and in commemoration of this we try to keep a two minute silence in the UK at 11am every November 11th.

The period of silence was first proposed by a Melbourne journalist, Edward George Honey, in a letter published in the London Evening News.  King George V issued a proclamation in 1919 which called for a two minute silence: ‘All locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead’. In our increasingly busy lives it is important that we too pause and remember with gratitude and respect those who have died in the cause of freedom .

In many of the Allied nations Armistice Day is a public holiday. I shall never forget the year I was in Paris on November 11th.  I attended a service for the English community in Notre Dame, probably the only time I shall sing ‘God Save the Queen’ in a church in France!

With every blessing

Eileen