In The Parish of Kingswinford, St. Mary


Dear Friends,

There feels to be something of a crisis of confidence in our nation at present, at least that's how I perceive things? The terrorist atrocities of London and Manchester, which direction do we take (away or towards Europe), who will lead our country and, as I write, the tragic events of the London tower block fire are unfolding. The image of babies and children being hurled from a burning building, as their parents give up hope, grips the heart.

There are always times of crisis and a convergence of events, in any country's history. Those of us who have lived for a while know this to be true. That is not to be cynical, nor despairing. As Christians, we know that at these times the only place to turn is to God. Not because He is going to magic it better, but because through his Holy Spirit, he will give us the confidence and power to help others and to discover courage within ourselves.

The silence of the cross tells us of God's enormous compassion for the human race and its suffering. To paraphrase John Polkinghorne, the quantum physicist; Jesus on the cross is God opening his bloodied arms to embrace the strange world that he has created. This is a God who identifies totally with suffering humans. There are no trite words, only silent empathy and love.

Our faith allows us to know, deep in our hearts, that God loves us and is with us. He is loving us, as a human race, to use the confidence of the Spirit to come together and overcome our problems and differences. We know we can do it, and God knows we can. But He will not drive us to it. We must choose, because we love; because we know God's love for us, deep inside.

The world does not have to be as it is. Humans can live in peace and harmony, sharing their abundance given by God and beginning to create His Kingdom on earth. We can choose to do that and so can anyone. The challenge for the church is to be a beacon of hope because we know of God's love for us, and we are not afraid to proclaim that love to the world and to share it with everyone else. We can encourage the world to make itself a better and safer place; to value life and human flourishing above profit, power and status. God is for us! He is for human life because he made it. When we pursue selfish gain we turn inwards to greedy desires. Out of the many disasters that feel to be crowding in on us, God is in those people helping and rescuing, those giving food, comfort and shelter. In the crisis, God is visible through loving actions which call us to build God's kingdom and not to pursue monuments to prideful folly.

With love