Soul Food- 26th June
Back in blighty, half a stone heavier, after a very relaxing break on what is effectively a desert island off the coast of Senegal. The sea was warm but rough and I lost my sunglasses after being knocked off my feet by a breaker.
The last significant action before we left were the scarecrow festival (and wedding) at East Budleigh and the “open gardens” in Otterton which raised a magnificent £4,700 and £6,000 respectively for the cause. Huge retrospective thanks to everyone involved (though it probably seems like a distant memory now)
Sunday 30th is St. Peter’s church patronal festival – and BBQ afterwards!
It was decided this year that when each church in the RMC had its patronal festival there would be no services in the other two churches giving us the rare chance to worship together three times a year. Next Sunday it is the first one at St. Peter’s church. I am very much looking forward to it as I hope you all are. The service is at 11am leading up to the BBQ afterwards which costs £10 pp. The readings are as follows;
Acts 12: 1-11. I suppose the essential message here is that God works for the good of anyone who has the gospel in his or her heart and that (just as were readings a few weeks ago) freedom from either mental or physical chains is a central gospel message. An angel (or messenger – the word is the same in Greek) frees St. Peter from his chains to do God’s work.
1Peter 2:19 – 25. Suffering, as we know is part and parcel of life. Buddhism says that explicitly, but Christians imply it by having the cross as our most important symbol. Though for most protestants the cross is empty which speaks of suffering transcended. Peter says here that bearing suffering for doing right we are allied with Christ himself who walked that walk first.
Matthew 16: 13-19. Jesus commends Peter’s insight as pivotal, and such faith is the rock on which the church will be built. Armed with such faith we are given responsibility for deciding what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and the yardstick we will use is love.
A book recommendation.
I can’t remember doing so much reading on this holiday and I was armed with some good stuff but one stood out as being possibly the most thought provoking book I have read in a long time. “12 rules for life – an antidote to chaos” by Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, is a multimillion seller and has apparently cemented his reputation as a kind of modern prophet and internet sensation. He uses the Bible extensively to frame his arguments but not only the Bible and he also quotes from Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist sources. Peterson describes himself as a classic liberal and traditionalist but for taking religion seriously is a rarity in the academy nowadays which probably explains his mass appeal amongst the young. His conclusions seem uncontroversial to me but have resulted in him being “no platformed” a number of times which only seems to increase his popularity and “prove” his thesis that the left naturally tends towards totalitarianism. Very thought provoking and I’ll certainly be seeking out his previous book more specifically about religion called “Maps of meaning”.
Thought for today.
Spending time on an island where it rarely ever rains and everything is bone dry and sand and rock, you can appreciate (if not love) the British weather and everything that springs from it. We take clean drinkable water for granted, but in the capital Sal Rei, we were shown the central drinking water point where people from the shanty town have to walk with their plastic containers every day for clean water and the communal laundry. The contrast was magnified because in the drive from Devon to Gatwick we were caught in a torrential downpour (amber weather warning whatever that means?) The level of comfort and the amenities we take for granted speak loudly as to why so many people across the world risk life and limb to reach Britain even before we factor in levels of corruption, violence, breakdown in civil society, lack of medical facilities and unemployment. Other factors impinge of course, not least knowledge of the English language. One thing we hadn’t thought about is that if we had got ill, there were no adequate facilities locally to deal with it, and it would necessitate a flight either to Spain or the Canaries – which was a worry and something we will definitely take into account when we plan our next trip. On arrival back at Gatwick, faced with delays at passport control and baggage reclaim it was amazing how quickly you become hyper critical of our country, but we have so much to be thankful for!
The Prayer for Today is a prayer for gratitude by a certain fellow called William Shakespeare;
O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness
Love and peace,