What a week! We’ve watched in horror and sadness the unfolding events in Paris. I think the phrase ‘Je suis Charlie’ will be a hallmark of any retrospective on 2015. The events have triggered memories people have had of other events – Sydney, London, New York, Madrid – and there is an escalation of the unease that comes with the incomprehension of how things come about. The talking – trying to understand – remains incessant and there are many views expressed. I noted that a Hezbollah leader has said that Islamic extremists have hurt Islam more than cartoonists – which I was pleased to hear – but I wonder whether in any increasingly illiterate religious world we will recognise the Sunni – Shia issues in such a statement or how we will continue discussing hu-man rights in a pluralist society.
Closer to home, the news regarding the future of RAF Mildenhall (and RAF Molesworth and RAF Alconbury) was a surprise. For once the rumours, it seems, were right. Details are still to be known – the people I’ve spoken with in the community all wanted to know the timeframe – but the one certain thing was that the future is uncertain. No doubt there are numerous views about fiscal planning, strategic planning, and politics and at the moment this seems best achieved by handing 15 bases (there are 12 bases in Europe also listed) back to home governments.
Last week in our prayers, I prayed for God’s protection against the ravages of the weather and disasters – and mentioned in particular, bushfires. There were some terrible bushfires in the summer heat of the southern hemisphere (where temperatures seem to annually reach new heights). Imagine my shock on hearing a few days ago of flooding in the same areas which is good for putting out the remaining fires but apparently terrible for the wa-ter quality in the reservoirs and dams as the run off threatens to pollute water supplies! The weather is a constant topic of conversation and climate change has been described as a ‘global problem’ requiring ‘global solutions’ but what those solutions are to be and if and when they should be implemented is still generating ‘hot air’.
This week I conducted Prayers for the first Divisions of the year at Sea Cadets. I spoke on Psalm 90:12-14 – where God teaches us to number of days – have pity on us (as we wait – even suffer) – and satisfy us with love so that we may rejoice. I’ve nearly lived 21,000 days – not many really – the cadets much less – but we all face days whether they be ‘heavy’ or ‘light’. One cadet asked me afterwards whether we should ‘seize the day’ or ‘wait for the Lord’. I was impressed by his ques-tion. Who knows what to do when?
We are never alone. We’re always connected – in families (with family trees) – and linked variously to communities and to history (eg. the Magna Carta in 1215, the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and for me, Anzac Cove in 1915) which both effects and even affects us. We should seek the truth. We should seek justice. We should seek mercy. These aren’t formulas or a 12 step programme but living in relationships. But what truly binds everything together is love. Left to us, it all ends badly. But with God all things are possible. And it is God’s love that truly helps us each day and gets us through each week. God’s love in Jesus gives us the relationship we need – one with him – to face whatever the week holds – to seek truth in all things – and to walk mercifully as we go. — GS