2016 What a year! The world does seem to have gone quite ‘mad’! As we anticipate a world with Donald Trump a leading power player, and the rise of the ultra-far right, it leaves people with feelings of simmering anxiety and uncertainty. We seem to be going backwards. So many displaced people of differing ethnicities and religions, turning up all over the place needing to be nurtured and accommodated. Who is more worthy of help?
We are becoming a more divided and fractious nation with poverty again rearing its ugly head. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, in his talk at John Moores University said that this last decade, “a lost decade” as he puts it, has not been seen since the 1860’s. Financial insecurity, job insecurity and austerity has left many frustrated and afraid. We are bombarded with twenty-four-hour news of wars, famines, crashes, crimes, terrorism, and with people in high places doing dreadful things. More balanced reporting is seen to be ‘whitewashing’ over the pain and suffering. Religious faith, Karl Marx believed in the 1800’s, is what reconciled the people to their condition, poverty, disease, death, and subjection to tyrannical rulers. The sheer bleak misery of their lives changed their tears into prayer. Religion was, he said, ‘the opium of the masses’. So, religion had to go.
A century and a half later Marx himself could not have foreseen that the paradise he envisaged, turned under Stalin, into the most brutal, repressive regime in the history of humankind. Is the world so bad? Is there nothing to celebrate? Lawbreaking is noteworthy only because the majority of people are law abiding. Family breakdown is worthy of reporting only because the majority aspire to lifelong relationships. What catches our attention are the odd things that are out of place. The fact that bad things are newsworthy is telling evidence of the fundamental goodness of our world. Around us we see the light of creation and its goodness. We are a Christian Community at St David’s. We take strength in our faith. It can be simplified with the words of the prophet Isiah as follows. ‘Learn to do good, Seek Justice, Aid the oppressed, Uphold the rights of the orphan, and Defend the cause of the widow’.
As we go forward into 2017 we enter another chapter in the life of our church. We welcome our new vicar, Rev’d Peter Smyth whose Induction Service will be at St David’s on Sunday 15 January 2017 at 3pm to which all are welcome.
I’d like to wish all who read this a very prosperous and happy New Year. Faith is not certainty, rather the courage to live with uncertainty without knowing the answers.
(This article By Wendy was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in November 2016)