Blinded by a Heavenly Light
In chapter 9 of Acts we read of Saul/Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus. Hearing the voice of Jesus, blinded by a heavenly light he had to be led by his companions into the city and could not see for three days.
Many of us have also had experiences which have changed the way we see the world, the breakdown of relationships of ourselves or those close to us, the unexpected death of someone especially perhaps a young person and, of course now, the pandemic.
The old certainties were that we could go out to meet friends in a pub or restaurant or invite people into our homes. We could nip out to the shops and happily mix with strangers or go to church and share the communion chalice, we could shake hands when we met people or hug our grandparents or grand children without a second thought for our, or their, safety.
Paul’s life was changed by his experience, from being an educated, faithful, and even fanatical Jew he became a dedicated, self-sacrificing preacher of the Good News but this took time. In his letter to the Galatians we read how after his experience he spent three years working out what it meant.
We all need to take this opportunity to consider what lessons we need to learn.
In his book ‘God and the Pandemic’ the former bishop of Durham, Tom Wright seeks to put the present global situation in its biblical context. In his final chapter he asks whether, after the shock of the present crisis we will reconsider the way our world works. Will we suddenly value our nurses, and delivery drivers more? Will we have enjoyed the cleaner air so much that we reduce our car journeys or air travel? Will we value international organisations and co-operation between different governments? Will we remember from our safe homes with a modern health service available to us, all those people in refugee camps or less developed parts of the world without similar supportive infrastructures.
Of course, the real world is more complicated. Politicians and other decision makers need to balance containing the spread of Covid 19 with rebuilding the economy supporting people’s livelihoods and restocking the financial cupboard to provide the requirement of a modern society. I do not envy them that task.
There is always a risk that the demands of the bottom line will dominate and once again the poor and under-valued will go to the wall. We have seen that poverty has been one of the factors in the effect of Coronovirus both directly and indirectly. Our role as Christians is to be involved and part of the conversation, to make sure that the voice of the poor, those less privileged or protected or those concerned about environmental matters are also heard.
Not only should we speak out, but we must also act and that is where the true challenge comes.
Readings for August
2nd August Trinity 8 Isaiah 55. 1 - 5 Romans 9. 1 - 5 Matt. 14. 13 – 21
9th August Trinity 9 1 Kings 19. 9 - 18 Romans 10. 5 - 15 Matt. 14. 22 - 33
16th August Trinity 10 Isaiah 56. 1, 6 – 8 Romans 11. 1 - 2a Matt. 15 [10 – 20] 21-28, 29-32
23rd August Trinity 11 Isaiah 51. 1 - 6 Romans 12. 1 - 8 Matt. 16. 13 – 20
30th August Trinity 12 Jeremiah 15. 15 - 21 Romans 12. 9 – end Matt. 16. 21 – end
Michelle Lynette DRYLAND (Pluckley)
Michelle died on Saturday 23rd May 2020 aged 40.
Her graveside funeral and burial took place
at St. Nicholas, Pluckley
on Wednesday 24th June 2020.
Alexander ‘David’ Evelyn MURE (Pluckley)
David died on Wednesday 1st July 2020 aged 103.
His graveside funeral and burial took place at
St. Nicholas, Pluckley
on Tuesday 7th July 2020.
May God enfold Michelle and David in his tender love and care.