Revd Howard’s November Notes

Looking out from my study, it is quite clear that we have made the transition into the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.’ The leaves on the trees have become the seasonal festival of colour and the mists give a somewhat ethereal appearance to the views out of our windows. It is also the time of year when our individual and collective thoughts turn towards the timeless questions…’what are we going to do for Christmas.’ and ‘what can we give to …’

It so happens that one of the readings for today [All Souls Day] may help in those dilemmas. The verses from Luke’s gospel chapter 14, verses 12-14 record Jesus’ comments as he was entertained at the table of a prominent Pharisee

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.

 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” [Luke 14, 12-14; NIV]

  It is not a matter of great scholarship to recognise what is being said here and what is quite remarkable just how contemporary this advice is even now.

We are informed on a daily basis of the needs of large sections of humanity, whether they be the thousands of refugees from war torn Middle East or those on the fringes of our own society, who find the needs for life even at the simplest level to be unattainable. The needs of all of these groups to the simple basics of life are immediate and are real. Like the example of Jesus, they too, are not able to repay any kindness

If we take Jesus’ teachings at all seriously then the advice is simple …our most appropriate first supportive act is to anyone who cannot repay…and there is a wealth of advertising material out there to let us know who they are. This responsibility attaches to all of us independent of our faith system but it is an imperative for the Christian. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century Italian monk describes charity [caritas…Latin] as extending  ‘….not only to love of God but also to the love of neighbours…’

 And Paul in perhaps the best known section of his letter to the good folk of Corinth pronounces that of the three greatest virtues faith, hope, and charity, ‘the greatest of these is charity.’[I Cor.13,13;KJV]

 Perhaps all of this is simply a timely reminder that we do have an obligation to anyone who is in need irrespective of who and what they are …or where they come from….and this should be factored into our thinking and planning for the weeks ahead.


With every good wish and blessing