Minister’s letter Sep 2017
â€‹We have enjoyed this summer some weeks of very hot weather, followed in the last few weeks by a period of sunshine and showers, as the weather forecasters put it on the radio and television. The sunshine and showers have a fairly familiar ring to them, reminiscent of the childhood holidays my brother and I enjoyed, before the days of more obvious global warming. I always seemed to be expecting rain as a boy and was thrilled when days of unbroken sunshine came along. Thosesunny days were less common and all the more welcome, allowing us to have run-outs in Brockwell Park. However amid the recent showers have been some very heavy downpours, making it difficult to know what to wear when leaving home, but at least offering the reassurance that the garden flowers will buck up and look the more cheerful as a result. This year even the poppies are back at Trinity, after many years of absence.
â€‹The football season has resumed and soon the schoolchildren in England will return to their regular classes. My grandchildren in Scotland go back to school in August. So life returns to its post-holiday routine and we trust that our spirits are recharged and that we have the energy to tackle whatever awkwardnesses come our way. Again men and women try to impose a pattern, perhaps in keeping with the world of nature and the seasons, which enables them and us to cope with the ups and downs, the vicissitudes, of life.
â€‹Yet, as we all know, as global warming shows repeatedly to us, life is simply not predictable. The unexpected breaks in, shattering all too easily our plans and schemes for the immediate and for the long term future. I must confess that I am always making plans for myself – what I hope to do, how I am going to fulfil all my commitments. I write lists for myself, of remembered and half-finished jobs. In truth, if I didn’t do something like this I do not know how I should sleep at nights and I am normally a very heavy sleeper. Of course, I do not always achieve all my aims. Often they have to be modified but I still make such plans. But, if I am worried about something, then my sleep becomes troubled, my dreams are disturbing and my life appears to be drifting way out of control. Of course, one reason why I find holidays to be useful is because then I usually have the space to do some serious thinking about my aims in life, my goals and my own character. I am lost without such heart searching and find it absolutely essential to take stock and to put my life back in focus.
â€‹In our prayers during the service this morning, as usual, we asked our church folk for their concerns as part of our intercessions and thanksgiving. More than one responded by commenting on the uncertainty of the world at present. For some, the Brexit process seems almost a case of the blind leading the blind and we must hope that this is not the Gadarene swine being replayed, with all about to fall off a cliff. We were also asked to remember the uncertainty of the Trump administration in the USA where, despite all the apparent changes in key personnel in the White House, the president is more popular in the country as a whole with the voters. We were led to pray for peace, especially given the bellicose poses being struck by the government of North Korea. We were also concerned about the terrorist killings in Barcelona and its hinterland and that one man had died in a knifing incident in nearby Atlantic Road.
So what might we pray for? We prayed that the gospel of Jesus who died rather than lead or support an armed uprising and who forgave his killers from the cross might be better understood. We prayed that those who wish to have leadership in our society might remember that they are accountable to voters and ultimately to God. We prayed that we ourselves might better become instruments of God’s peace and forgiveness, that we might learn to be more tolerant and, if possible, wiser and more generous.
May God bless you,