Our final parish newsletter of the year. With you I pray for the courage and love to face 2021 with our suffering world and church. There has been much to inspire us in the dedicated hospital and care work around the world, to horrify us in the cruelty of warring nations and dictatorships, to break our hearts for the millions of refugees and migrants, for the poor, hungry and deprived everywhere, for the grieving and sorrowing.
There has been little to inspire us in the world leaders, governments losing their way in drifting sands, not knowing how to look after their people nor Creation. We are aware of natural disasters, people losing homes and homeland in floods, wildfires, made desperate refugees facing many dangers to escape being enslaved or imprisoned. We have seen the desperation of people with no hope and no one to inspire them.
Where, politically, are you grateful for wisdom in leadership? So fallible and limited, so divided in judgements and convictions. We see divisions in the United (for how much longer?) Kingdom and wonder how they can be four governments so confusedly different. To have power is no guarantee of knowing how to rule. Our limitations as a world people are reflected in systems and inadequacies of government.
Climate change, civil unrest, civil wars, ancient enmities: 2020 has been a bad year. We look back to 1920 when the world was recovering from the horror of the 1914-18 war, suffering the ravages of the Spanish flu (worse than our Covid-19 pandemic), poverty worldwide, housing and working conditions bad for so many. We are better able to cope now than the world was able to in 1920. In spite of the horror of wars, empire (poor Africa and Asia), German Naziism, Soviet Communism, we are a better world than we were then. This is not to lessen the sufferings of the 20th century but to acknowledge we are more aware now of our world, United Nations, World Health Organisation, etc. Our ideals and expectations are higher, we expect to think and act internationally, and we are learning.
It has been another sad year for the Church. We pray for justice and healing for our children and women abused by and ignored by unworthy bishops and priests and uncaring bystanders. We ask God’s blessing, as much is yet to be done, but Pope Francis is reshaping the hierarchy of the Church and 60% of our cardinals have been chosen by him. We pray that truth and love come first in the Church’s message, rather than law and authority. We can unite the world in truth and love, seeing everyone as the people of God.
Dear God, thank you for the wonder and balance of Creation. Help us to reverence and respect what you have given and to live in your original vision of the evening of the sixth day: female and male . . . . increase and multiply . . . . be stewards of Creation . . . . to be a world and Church grateful to you and caring for one another.
(20th December 2020)