Thoughts from the Rector....
Rector’s Notes – OCTOBER 2019
When Christians disagree…
I recently came across a fascinating address by Revd Sam Wells, vicar of St Martin in the Field Trafalgar Square, to the recent Inclusive Church conference on the subject of how to cope when Christians disagree about important matters.
There are several areas this might happen of course. At the time of writing Brexit is the most obvious, but human sexuality is another matter not yet settled in the Church of England, or it might simply be about things that should or should not happen in the life of our local church that we feel strongly about. The human temptation that we see powerfully in our media is to shout ever louder in the (forlorn) hope that our opponent will eventually see that we are right, and change their mind.
For Christians, Wells suggests another route. He points out St Paul’s powerful words in
Philippians 3:20 ‘Our citizenship is in heaven’. What I find most helpful about this is the
radical reminder that the most important thing is not about where we are coming from, or what group we’d like to align ourselves with, but rather where we are going! The chances are we will NEVER reconcile some of our passionately-held differences of opinion. But instead of constantly reminding ourselves of these differences we could try concentrating instead on where we are going – heaven – where there is more than enough love for all, more than enough joy and truth, and space for ALL to flourish, and where these differences will seem a world away.
That points us to the definition of the Church: a bunch of people who come from a great
variety of different places, but are all heading for the same place.
Being a Christian transforms our identity. Please God, it stops us forcefully trying to insist that I am right and you are wrong, as we shift our focus instead onto the journey we’re all making to the place none of us have yet been. The challenge for us is to love now as if we’re already there. Acknowledging our differences, but allowing ourselves to be owned not by whatever group we might feel we want to belong to here on earth, but rather owned by our holy, good, reconciling, and loving God.
With my prayers & best wishes
Caspar Bush (Team Rector)