Pastoral Letter

Dear Friends

We approach the commemoration of the end of the Great War and I find myself reflecting on what it would be like to live through that moment.  Of course, it’s impossible to know precisely since our own experience does not include anything like that. We can read the accounts and the reflections of those who took time to write their thoughts down; we can think about those, who, by the end of the conflict, had lost loved ones, work colleagues, neighbours and friends, but unless we have experienced something similar it is really difficult to actually know what it feels like.  However, it is important to try.

Even as we look at the news day by day we are confronted with real and tragic situations around the world that have had devastating effects on the lives of families, communities and countries.  It can sometimes be very hard to watch, especially when people are interviewed in a state of grief. How do we react? What can we possibly do? Although we can contribute to the relief of these people, we are constantly left with unanswerable questions and it is difficult to know what to do with our feelings.  So, we often bury them and we sadly become hardened to what we see. Of course, this is quite understandable. It is relatively easy to put out of our minds something that is happening thousands of miles away. The older I get and the more distance there is between us and the dreadful events of history that changed the face of our country forever, the more danger there is of either forgetting or failing to see the reason why we should still continue to commemorate something that happened two or three lifetimes away.

The other day I found myself asking, “What is the most important aspect of our humanity; love, respect, forgiveness?”  I concluded that the answer was compassion. Compassion is all about putting ourselves in the shoes of those whose lives are broken or torn apart by events that turn lives upside down.  True, we can never absolutely know what people are going through unless we have experienced it ourselves but we can be willing to use our imaginations and connect with the accounts that are available for us to read and see.  We can also look around us for the needs that are in our own community. Compassion flows from love of humanity, respect for the rights and the wellbeing of others and a desire to bring wholeness to them. If we do not choose to develop our sense of compassion, mercy and justice then we risk losing an essential part of what it means to be human.

In the New Testament we often will read something like, “And Jesus had compassion on them”.  This was always followed by some kind of action that changed the life of the person he was interacting with forever.  His compassion flowed directly from his love and the love of God and their desire to bring mending, wholeness, healing, freedom and justice to this world.  His life was totally given to this and he lost it in the process. Jesus’ life was pretty spectacular but part of his purpose here on earth was to demonstrate to us what a human being, fully alive and filled with God’s Spirit of love could actually achieve.  

We invite you to join with us on November 11th both in the morning, around the war memorial, and in the evening as the village, commemorates the end of the Great War. Come and reconnect. Let us never forget that our hope for future peace is rooted our commitment to be compassionate and selfless people.

Every blessing

Stephen

vicar.sb54rev@gmail.com 07943014277

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