Revd Howard’s thoughts for September

The Meteorological Office now tells us that summer has gone and we are in the autumn season…with all that promises!!

I hope that you all have been able to enjoy the summer and have happy memories of the holidays.

We are now, in the Church’s year, well into the Trinity season [ends 25th October] and thoughts and planning begin to turn to the commemorations and festivals that lie ahead …Remembrance Sunday, the Harvest Festival, our Patronal Festival,  a number of significant Saints days and of course the major celebration of Christmas.… Much to think about and prepare for in the days ahead and there are other matters that are making the headlines in the media that we as individuals and as a Christian community would do well to reflect upon.

Perhaps the most disturbing of these are the daily stories of human tragedy as people from a number of African and Middle Eastern countries feel the need to flee their homes to escape persecution and oppression and seek refuge in European lands. The influx of large numbers of extra people into Europe raise not only serious practical socio-economic questions alike in poor and wealthy lands but also moral and ethical questions about human relations and responsibilities.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless to do anything about the enormous needs that are identified but the Judeo-Christian teaching has always been clear… from ancient times the Jews were taught of their responsibility not only for the poor of their communities, but also to make special provision for the welfare of itinerant travellers and those from foreign lands – a teaching that was not only endorsed but extended by Jesus himself. The parable of the Good Samaritan [found in Luke’s Gospel  …chap 10], gives unequivocal guidance to the understanding of who is one’s neighbour and comes down firmly to suggest that anyone who comes with genuine need falls into that category. Without exception, Jesus’s sound bite on the matter, the two most important commandments, cannot be clearer for the Christian… ’’Love the Lord your God and your neighbour as yourself…’’

No, we cannot solve all the needs we hear about, but we can and ought to do whatever we can in our means to support those organisations and charities who are able with help to respond effectively to those outside our shores, and also to those in need in our own society…such action is after all at the heart of our belief and faith. I know that ‘Charity begins at home….’ but it doesn’t say where it should end!

As we move through this part of the year with the points of reflection on the gifts we receive… Remembrance of others’ sacrifice in wars, of the gifts of Harvest and the greatest gift of all in Jesus, Son of God… perhaps it is a good time to recall our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters… our neighbours in their need.. not only in practical ways but also remember that there is great power in prayer too…and each of us has the means to do that.

God bless…

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

(Traditional Gaelic blessing)

 

(Revd) Howard

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