Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Happy Hour.

Our Lady's happy!

I'm happy and so is Fred!

The Bishop is happy!

We are all happy!

Is it happy hour?

You catch me at my desk, dear wanderers (I may start selling T-Shirts with 'I read AW' on them, any takers?) having just finished my lunch (bacon, chips and tinned spaghetti with a slice of smoked cheese on top, since you ask) and typed up the PCC minutes. I am not on the PCC because we are not supposed to be, to save both our time for involvement in formation and also to stop block voting, I suppose. I have, as always, typed them up resisting the temptation to influence opinion by putting spin or emphasis on things I care more about, although I will, between me and you, have to claim that I have laboured the boiler somewhat, favouring the conversion to gas rather than oil which we currently use. I have also been talking to a builder and am going to get more than I want, for a lot less, so all is good.
So, the seconds I pause for now could be spent basking in a mental happy hour but there is a cloud on the horizon and I am afraid that it is me casting this happy world into shadow. You see, when I saw the film 'Priest' I always wanted to be the middle aged Liverpudlian Priest, living alongside his people, sharing their lives and their deaths, both in good and bad times. The younger chap never appealed to me and the Bishop seemed a prat. What I liked about the middle aged Priest was that he lived with absolute integrity to himself and his people and indeed to his Bishop, who was too much of the aforementioned prat to realise this. He did, though, in one or two noticeable ways, not live with integrity to God, but nor did the others and this is not a film review. Obviously my model of ministry is not a fictional film character and things have moved on in all sorts of ways since the film was made and I first watched it. However, I do try to be a true child of Ignatius and to give without counting the cost and to fight without heeding the wounds, which this character seemed to sum up for me. This, I think, would make you happy and give you inner peace, knowing that you are doing the will of God and therefore, the best thing that you can do, both for yourself and for the world. Living in inner peace and so showing 'your light before men, so that, seeing your good works, they may glorify their Father in Heaven'.
Recently, however, I have become bogged down in all the mire around the Synod and Lambeth and allowed myself to be depressed by it all and to spend too much time worrying about what will happen. By doing this, I have thought without integrity at times and marginalised other peoples views. This is not the way of God as I can see it and I am sorry for that. We, people of God with hearts and minds on fire, freshly through the joy of Easter and the purifying, commissioning fires of Pentecost, ablaze with the rites of the Church, should not be bogged down beyond passing thought by these things. And before you think I have gone mad, listen, for I think if we all do this then we are doing the will of God. For I will not judge any man, be they resident in Smithfield or Canterbury or Uganda and I do not believe that any of us should. This blog has raised a lot of good comment lately and I am grateful for this, but be aware that I do not expect any of you to agree with me just to walk your own ways in integrity and peace.
Our lives have no purpose, save praising almighty God in His creation which includes our families, friends, work, wherever He is to be encountered and thereby letting Him be known. The Church is already, by it's public face, some way from doing that, even though it is full of many, many men and women of goodwill. We are not, however, showing a Church of integrity and light. Let's not join in the fight, but show the world what His Church is really capable of - walking humbly and loving mercy, all the days of our lives. And be happy, for this is the day the Lord has made.