As I type this, the floods have descended on us and you could be forgiven for drawing up new plans for Noah and his Ark. The waters will subside in time. Yet the financial tide remains high for us as a church, and that’s why you might get a knock on the door from Robin or me sometime soon to see if you would be willing to help support us through the times ahead. Keeping our show on the road, and life in general I think, is often better done at a walk rather than a run.
As this year begins, it would be wise to take the advice of Bishop Stephen (former Bishop of Reading) and ‘slow down…’, which I take to mean just check yourself a little, from all-out activism. It’s advice which holds good for Lent too and for many other things.
There’s no better way I know of encouraging a belief in something bigger than we are, than in reminding ourselves of a good example of deep humanity in others. We see it, if we look, in the lives of those around us; in small unselfish acts for others. Just occasionally this gets painted on a larger canvas as it did recently with Nelson Mandela. Some of the most sensible words I heard said about him, at his passing, came from the unlikely lips of Barbara Follett, an MP who has not always covered herself in glory but who knows South Africa well. She said that instead of blaming, he built people up; and instead of accusing, he analysed what the structural problems were and tried to help fix them. He knew these things take at least a lifetime and don’t come easily. I think that’s why he called his book ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’. When you walk, with someone or alone, you’ve got the time to remember things and let things fall into place about who you are, and your place with others in the world; and how you might be able to help the world become a little better to live in. Some good ‘walking with’ is being done by the Village Plan, and we as churches in this Village do our best to walk faithfully with people too.
When he was finally released from jail in 1990, he could so easily have driven out in a large motorcade. Instead he chose to walk, with his nearest and dearest alongside him – fellow humans on the humane path he had chosen towards dignity, not just for himself but for a whole people.
Happy New Year, and may your walk be a gentle and fruitful one as it unfolds.
<< Go Back