Monthly Message - June 2018
Bank holiday weekend is set to break all records for sunshine and warmth, and love is in the air! The forthcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has thousands of people around the world very excited and has set off an inevitable media frenzy of anticipation.
On a smaller scale I look forward to conducting three weddings in May and one in June here in Pirbright and on an even smaller scale I am delighted that a pair of great tits have loved up and are nesting in our new nest box in the Vicarage garden.
Marriage is a joyous event, and love between two people is always something to celebrate and uphold. Love between different groups, races, faiths and cultures is even more important, but too often can seem sadly lacking or non-existent.
The tragedy of division, gang rivalry and racism just in this country, has led to the shocking figure of some 50 killings in London alone already this year, with others elsewhere in the country.
We also have many more homeless people, and those needing to use food banks than ever before. Looking further afield, there are the tragedies of the Rohingya people forced to flee their homes in Myanmar; the horror of the continuing war in Syria, the rape and burning to death of young girls in India, and many more obscenities besides.
Where is the love?
Too often we see love through rose-tinted glasses; hearts and flowers, happy wedding days, but love is often an overused word in our culture, and our understanding of it narrow and limited.
We need to spread love on a much bigger scale; love that has little to do with sentiment, and everything to do with respect, tolerance, forgiveness, and openness; in recognition that we are all precious in God’s sight; equally valued as His beloved children.
Learning to live alongside others that may be very different from ourselves in a spirit of love and openness, can only increase our understanding, knowledge and experience, and make for a much more peaceful and joyous world.
Such was the peace and harmony that Jesus came to bring. And it begins with you and me.
How about we start by rejecting knee-jerk criticism, and try and understand the person whose opinions may seem very different to ours.
How about we develop greater awareness and friendliness with our neighbours and colleagues.
How about we look at the welcome we give to people from different cultures and faiths and – instead of the differences - look for and celebrate the similarities.
‘Love one another, as I have loved you’, Jesus said to his disciples.
Jesus loved people of all faiths and none; the sick, the poor, the wealthy, temple officials, street dwellers. He didn’t discriminate, and he asks that we do the same, because God knows that is the only way to create a world of love, peace and harmony for everyone.