From The Rector - May 2016

Dear Friends,

May brings events to look forward to in the Benefice. However, it also sees the return of Christian Aid Week - 15 to 21 May 2016 - which I hope you will be able to support.

Susan Durber, Christian Aid’s Theology Advisor, writes:

Have you ever looked up at the stars at night, into a sky clearer than you can ever find in a big city and felt suddenly incredibly small, but somehow part of something huge and awesome too? And has it crossed your mind that people all around the world are under the same sky, people with whom you share planet Earth, people who, like you, look up and wonder?

Most of us have at some time in our lives stood and looked at the heavens, at the moon and the stars – and felt a sense of awe. Perhaps this is why Psalm 8 is a favourite among the psalms – not just because there’s relatively little about smiting enemies and all of that – but because we’ve all stood there. We’ve all looked at the sky, at the heavens, on a dark and beautiful night and drawn breath at the beauty and hugeness of it all, and wondered.

Trinity Sunday is a kind of staring up into the great theological sky – of sensing, even if we can only bear it for a moment, the huge, thumping wonder of the great story and truth of our faith. On this day we are drawn to those who write star-like poetry about the God who is three in one, the holy Trinity of love. It is a day to draw back and let our spirits gasp before the wonder of all of creation and the wonder of the God who created it – the God who was made visible and present in Christ and who is still sweeping with passion, warmth and power among us to this day.

A Trinity Sunday at the end of Christian Aid Week is also a moment to look around at the faces of all those others who share the Earth and sky, the days and nights, with us. It’s a time to look at the beauty and the suffering of the earth and to respond to it. And it gives us a new sense of the greatness of what it could be to be a human being, in the light of the great story of our faith. It lifts us up, and we remember once more the true glory of God, and the true dignity of all human beings.

There are those around the world, those who look at the same stars as us, who
can tell us better than any how we have forgotten our vocation to care for creation and how to give praise to God. There are people in many lands who could tell us
how the seasons are changing, how the rains can’t be predicted as they once could, how the harvests are failing, and the glaciers melting. There are those in Bangladesh who can tell us how the sea is rising, how their familiar ducks are no longer flourishing, and how their houses need to be built on better foundations for when the floods come.

They are human beings like us, only a little lower than the angels, precious in God’s sight, people who lift their eyes to the skies as we do and marvel at creation. The writer of the book of Proverbs was convinced that God had ‘made firm the skies above’ (Proverbs 8:28) and ‘assigned to the sea its limit’ (8:29), but there are those who would tell us that the sea is moving, that the rivers are turning to salt. The people whose houses must be built again will remind us, like the psalmist, of our true dignity and our true purpose within the creation which God has made.

We are part of the same earth as they are, dust of their dust, and like them only a little lower than the angels. Before it is too late, we must look again at the beauty and wonder of the world, and find again the vocation that God the Trinity, has given us.