- I have heard stories from the synod on Monday — joy for some and deep distress for others. I have been praying particularly for my Traditionalist colleagues. Quite honestly, I don’t particularly agree with them, but I know they are in great distress and emotional turmoil. I can only pray for them personally, and that some good way emerges for them.
- My friend and colleague +Stephen was telling our staff meeting about a day with bishops from a country with a repressive regime. Their faith and resilience puts us all to shame. Bishop Greg Kerr-Wilson blogs about a pre-Lambeth mission conference in Lichfield, with Malaysian bishops who face all kinds of harrassment from a Muslim majority. I have heard it suggested that there is no point in Lambeth if all we do is meet, pray, study scripture and share experience. Cynics say it’s pointless without parliamentary debates. Frankly, I know some people love student politics, but it’s always bored me rigid. What I really value in Lambeth is an opportunity to meet privately, share, and pray with colleagues, especially brothers persecuted for their faith. I wonder what the point is, if all we’re allowed to do with them is play politics?
Imagine stepping into a fragile boat of wood and leather smeared with animal fat to seal it from the waves. What does it feel like to, like St. Brendan, abandon the shore? – leaving behind all models and strategies, ignoring old maps and guides, cut adrift from techniques and traditions, with your future solely in God’s hands…”These are the people who planted our faith in these islands. Whatever we think we know or don’t know, we can know that without faith it is impossible to please God. Saint Brendan’s prayer is a inspiring in the face of uncertainty:
Shall I turn my back on my native land,
and turn my face towards the sea?
Shall I put myself wholly at your mercy,
without silver, without a horse, without fame, without honour?
Shall I throw myself wholly upon You, without sword and shield, without food and drink, without a bed to lie on?
Shall I say farewell to my beautiful land,
placing myself under Your yoke?
Shall I pour out my heart to You, confessing my manifold sins and begging forgiveness, tears streaming down my cheeks?
Shall I leave the prints of my knees on the sandy beach, a record of my final prayer in my native land?
Shall I then suffer every kind of wound that the sea can inflict?
Shall I take my tiny boat across the wide sparkling ocean?
O King of the Glorious Heaven,
shall I go of my own choice upon the sea?
O Christ, will You help me on the wild waves?”
Kiekegaard is said to have described real Faith as “swimming in a rough sea 70,000 fathoms deep.” We all need a bit of faith. Remember Paul’s words to the crew in Acts 27 — “keep up your courage, for I have faith in God that all will turn out according to his promise.”