Dec 2, 2013

Fr Freddy's December message

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Category: General
Posted by: suzi hedgecock

The days are perfectly sad. Leaves, mulch; skies are neither light nor dark. There are plants that have lost all sense of time and as such, are living dangerously.

If we are at all downcast, it is because we have ceased to love melancholy. There are those who drug themselves so that they can live on a 'high' and there are those who read and re-read wondrous books - such as "The Anatomy of Melancholy" so that they can live on a low. Live richly, that is. Robert Burton wrote this indispensible book in 1621, throwing off wonderful squibs of learning and literary delights in all directions. And apparently without effort. Everyone loved it.

These are a few of his treasures; did he find them or invent them?

"Women wear the breeches";
"All poets are mad";
"Cookery is become an art, a noble science, cooks are gentlemen";
"Why doth one man's yawning make another yawn?";
"Aristotle said melancholy men of all others are most witty"
"Many things happen between the cup adn the lip";
"Birds of a feather gather together";
"Ignorance is the mother of devotion".

If I dare say so, this last epithet comes into my head when I think about the Anglican priests leaving the Church of England for the Roman church; some I know personlly. I think - if only they had really understood or comprehended the beauty and truths of Anglican Christianity, they would have stayed put and practised them, to the benefit of the Church everywhere.

And the Church of England itself needs to take a critical look at its "worship"; for some of what goes on under this description is tired, burnt out and some - beyond belief.

Most people's worship involves going to church for one hour a week. This should be "something different" from all the other hours, something profound, moving, and intensely spiritual.

Melancholic owls call at night from the plantation across from the Vicarage. Lying in bed I listen to their cries, as did Penda Cudlip, the first Vicar 100 years ago. Chilly dawn air comes in like a knife; leaves choke the gutter and a spiral of rainwater hits the sill. Young soldiers die on the News; politicians are full of words and I have no idea what they are talking about.

Yet the sad-happy autumn spreads itself towards Advent, the beginning of a new Church Year; the herald of Christmas.

Christmas - the renewal of light, the proclamation of peace when there seems no peace, the acknowledgement of a birth, the making of music, the exchange of gifts - these are the signs of a faith in the warm, good moments of Living; the marks of the mass of Christ. So, once more, we shall entertain in our hearts something we know to be special. In W.H. Auden's words:
"Remembering the stable where for once in our lives everything became a You and nothing was an I"

We shall be humanised, made vulnerable to innocence - and an experience that touches the divine. It will enable us to see the works of the Lord as fresh from the hands of the Creator and look at the sky and the stars all over again "with exceeding great joy". And as we look for Christmas, say those beautiful words of Gerard Manley Hopkins: "Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs - Because the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and ah! bright wings."

Fr Freddy

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