Apr 1, 2013

Fr Freddy's April message

Please click more to read Fr Freddy's April message.
Category: General
Posted by: suzi hedgecock

No one ever said that following Jesus would be easy.  In fact, as followers of Jesus, we are given fair warning that the opposite is likely to be the case.  Throughout the world, the church and Christians are finding life very difficult.  Divisions, scandals, persecutions – it’s all a long way off from “more tea Vicar” cosiness and gentility.

Shortly we will be celebrating a wonderful Easter in our churches and all in the garden seems beautiful.  And yet, further afield is so much disillusionment with the church and Christianity itself.  The recent Archbishop and fellow Bishops’ letter to the government about cuts and how they will affect young people and families – will it make any difference, what they say?  Do people in authority listen to the Bishops any more?  Does anyone care what they say?  There was a time long ago – has that time gone?  No British government since Clement Atlee’s (1945-50) has attempted a programme of legislative reform on the scale of the one that the present Coalition is undertaking and it’s challenging the 26 or so Bishops who sit in the House of Lords, Bishop Michael of Exeter being one.  I’m all for some of our Bishops to sit in “the other house”.

They have as great a claim as any in Parliament to understand, at first hand, how all these changes and cuts are affecting the most vulnerable, since it is often the clergy who witness and respond to the fragile human consequence of the political “hard choice”.

At the moment, our Bishops in Parliament are being a questioning presence.  How any of us, who are followers of Jesus, insulate those who are most at risk from, but least to blame for, the continuing “downturn” – that is the vital consideration.

On this the Church should have a voice.  If it is in the business of helping the country achieve real change, it needs to be prepared to engage with the political world as it is.  Political wisdom is the capacity to discern how a body of political principle is to take concrete form in policy-making at a particular time and place.  Part of that task of shaping that wisdom is falling heavily on the Bishops of the Church of England at the moment.

Fr Freddy

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