29. September 2019

One Big Happy Family

Service Type:

Minister: Revd Dr. Ian Tutton

One Big Happy Family

‘…That My house may be filled…’ (Luke 14, 24)

When the BBC analyses viewer/listener trends it refines the population down into tribes…up to 50 and more…based on age, gender, ethnicity, income, location, etc. In order to identify niche market opportunities, it risks exaggerates difference for difference’s sake. An example of the ‘law of unintended consequences’; entrenching difference in the name of diversity. It is much harder to encourage attitudes and promote policies that focus on bringing people together. Of course, the ‘Holy Grail’ is to discover that which can celebrate diversity whilst maintaining an essential, underlying unity... ‘I am who I am’ but  ‘I’ would not be so if it were not for those who are ‘who they are’: ‘I’ + ‘They’ = ‘We’…And if want proof of how difficult it is to solve this equation, well it is somewhat akin to the challenge confronting theoretical physicists as they seek to identify a ‘single unifying force’ that can explain everything to do with how the universe functions. Well, the answer to our riddle may lay in the direction of a religious response. At first glance a strange thing to say given institutionalised religion’s history in terms of division, discord and dislocation of human affairs across the centuries, but bear with me…Not religion as characterised by any outward manifestation but judged according to its ability to bring about inward transformation, both in the life of the individual, but also in the life of wider society…a transformation evidenced by the…

  • Dignifying of the individual, every individual…
  • Respecting of each and all alike…
  • Preserving of that which has proved honourable over time…
  • Upholding of truth and goodness…
  • Overcoming that which would frustrate such ideals… 
  • Celebrating that which enhances every human life…
  • Advocating beliefs and practices that allow us to make common cause with each other…
  • Ensuring that nothing & nobody will be allowed to corrupt the well-being of another…
  • Making the extent to which every human being is enabled to flourish the touchstone for determining the Godliness of our society…

 

 What the Apostle Paul was getting at when writing to the Philippians,

‘…whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is gracious’ if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things...’ (Phil. 4, 8).

Or perhaps more provocatively, when writing to his protégé, Timothy,

‘…There is great gain in Godliness with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunges one into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils…’ (1 Tim. 6, 6 – 9).

Or, as Jesus put it most succinctly, ‘…You cannot serve God and money…’ And so, our prayer for Ayaan, as he grows up, as he comes to realise that one day he will have to choose; is that he understands that the choice is not between religions, because before ever he contemplates that particular choice he will have to choose whether to live a Godly life or a life lived in pursuit of naked self-interest. For that to be an informed choice his parents, his extended family, family friends, all have a role to play, as role models. And whenever we are reminded of such matters, it is for a reason; to invite each one of us to reappraise where we are in life concerning the living of a Godly life.