And so, we come to the end. My final ‘Wednesday’ letter. What began as a means of keeping in touch with everyone during the 1st Covid lockdown in Spring of 2020 … THANK YOU, ALL OF YOU…
And so, Ash Wednesday is upon us. While we as a Church do not formally acknowledge it nevertheless, from time to time it does us good to be reminded of its significance. It is the 1st day of Lent, itself a period to be set apart for prayer and fasting in preparation for the celebration of Easter. On this 1st day of Lent, we are to be reminded thus… “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
This coming Sunday, February 27th, we will celebrate the Church’s 112th Anniversary. The building itself was not built until a year later, but the group of people who had been meeting together elsewhere since November 1909, in February 1910 decided to formalise their covenanting together by constituting themselves as a Church. After that, plans were made, firstly to call a minister, and then, under his leadership for a building to be constructed during 1911.
It is all too easy for us as Christians to recoil at the slightest suggestion of going to war. The Christian faith might well be described as ‘instinctively pacifist’. I am bound to admit that in my younger days I was ‘taken in’ by a ‘sense’ of naïve idealism – or was it, idealistic naivety – when it came to my attitude to going to war. These words of Pope John Paul 2nd served to remind me of my need to ‘come to my senses’…
… the Games have found themselves wrapped up in political controversy with a number of countries, including our own, imposing a ‘diplomatic boycott’. This is in protest at China’s appalling human rights record, especially in respect of the Uyghur people – Muslim by religion – who are being forced to undergo a state run ‘re-education’ programme …
We are not so forgiving, not so prepared to forgive. That is why so often we are reluctant to ‘own up’ – we fear the consequences – the judgement of our peers is often disproportionate, harsh, unbending. More intent on retribution than restoration
That is, how do we understand our place – the place of humankind – within the wider panoply of the creation? Is it not, or at least should it not be a staggeringly humbling experience for all of us to be made to confront the reality that the totality of human life has been brought to a standstill by a virus
What is more important? To be better than others? Or to be the best that we can be? For too many people, to be judged to be inferior to others can be so damaging to their self-esteem; so damaging in fact that they fail to be the best they can be because their ‘best’ has already been judged to be less than good enough.
ne size fit’s all’ is not an appropriate motto for the Christian Church. Moreover, such an approach can only serve to stifle innovative thinking, suppress energetic enthusiasm, and limit the church’s ability to respond imaginatively.
So, how was it for you? The New Year I mean. The absence of fireworks on Central Square meant it was something of a damp squib as far as Hampstead Garden Suburb was concerned. It also ‘proved’ that the otherwise large congregation that usually attended ‘Watchnight’ had, to say the least, mixed motives.