With the sort of year it’s been, here in the eastern shadow of the moor, there’s only one thing I can say in this final edition of the magazine for 2019 and the first of the new year – thank you.
In times such as these, where soundbite and political newspeak dominate the media, it is even more important than ever to say what matters. When the divisions in our society have worn me down this year, like you perhaps, it has been the generosity of spirit, the humour and the support of so many friends and parishioners across our villages that has given me hope. Surely hope, love and faith are the surest antidotes to the prevailing cynicism and hollow world-weariness which seem overpowering at times. Thank you.
There isn’t time or space here to thank the many, many people who have chosen to pull together not condemn; to give without taking; and who have given so much to our common life this year (both in our church families and outside them). Some do so quietly and without making a fuss; they are the ones who are overlooked yet give so much (clearing leaves and unblocking the drains in the rain before Remembrance Sunday, for example). Thank you.
Now you don’t see it in the behaviour of some of his followers, but the God shown to us in the Bible and this eye-wateringly beautiful ‘community of Creation’ begins everything with a Divine YES. You’ll find it in Genesis 1:31. ‘Yes’ to humanity as fellow gardeners, co-creators even. That same ‘yes’ means ‘no’ to prejudice of any kind or inequality or to our soul-less exploitation of the planet for profit. It unleashes grace in a world where many feel lost, without purpose and excluded.
You know that we’re not on this earth for long – will you, as 2020 dawns, join those who give time and kindness and sometimes money to bring people together in a world where others judge and divide us? Do you have time to help our schoolchildren read, or visit a neighbour who can’t get out much, host an asylum-seeker or help maintain our churchyards respecting nature? Regardless of what vote you cast; regardless what you say you believe or not; do you sense the divine YES at the heart of all things? If so, your country needs you.