The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

Associate Rector

The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 01689 854451

Assistant Priest

The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624


July Leader

I was once in a discussion group where a woman recounted how a member of her family, (a devout Christian) had been a soldier in the First World War and whilst leaving a trench he had been struck by a bullet. He fell over, presumed dead or injured, but much to the surprise of his comrades he got back up. The reason was that the bullet had struck a Bible which he had carried in his pocket. The woman in the discussion group shared with us how she believed God had saved and spared him that day, he went on to survive the war. This view of course is all very well, until you start thinking about the many others who were not so fortunate and died. Why did not God spare them? Were they any less important to Him than the man with the Bible? Were they not also His precious children? It may be comforting to believe that God saved a particular soldier from death by a Bible in a pocket, but the consequence of such thinking is that God’s actions and indeed His very nature are inevitably capricious, random and arbitrary, for one family would come out of the experiences thanking God for saving their son, whilst thousands of others would ask, why them and not us? How would you be able to believe and love in such a God after that?

The late Rabbi Lionel Blue once described how he had been in a Christian Union meeting where someone had asked God to help her find some valuable earrings. The following week she shared how her prayer had been answered. He went on to reflect; ‘I used to think about the wagon loads of human misery making their way to the concentration camps. Those wagons were not just stuffed with the victims, they were stuffed with their prayers too, and what good came of them? Not anything I could discern.’ He asks, ‘What should I think about a God who didn’t save our 6 million, but found her earrings?’

The logic of this is inescapable and reminds us loudly and clearly that we need to be very cautious as to what we ascribe to the Almighty and indeed what we ask for in our prayers. It is easy for faith to regress to childish sentimentalisms, as a retreat and defence from the responsibilities and disappointments of adult life. As many devout people have realised, faith is not an insurance policy, bad things happen to good people, to God’s people, despite prayers to the contrary. At moments like this a Rubicon is crossed, faith becomes a wrestling match. Praying is a struggle to hold onto God’s love in the face of powerlessness and confusion. Jesus on the cross speaks to us before the Resurrection hope. We are used to power being a hierarchical experience and maybe God, like a grand puppeteer who saves one and neglects another, makes this thing happen for one and not for another. Jesus in fact shows us a completely different reality of power, God with us in life and in death. Power is then not God stopping bullets, but human beings stopping wars and hate. Inspired and strengthened by Gods life within them through Jesus, as the mystic writer Simone Weil, (1909 – 1943) once said, ‘the only power God has in the world is the love he inspires in us.’




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July Service Rota
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