Monday 28 May 2018

Seeking the welfare of city

The pictures both come from a walk at Hardcastle Craggs on a Day Off last Thursday (a first discovery for us); the smell of the wild garlic was just one of the many pleasures.  There is a sense of direction here.  

Meanwhile, twenty-five years ago, I well remember the way Bishop Bill Ind used to refer to Jeremiah 29.7 ('seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for its welfare to you will find your welfare') as a key text for the concern of the diocesan training team (of which I was then part under him) for issues of justice and peace.  

So I was particularly struck yesterday evening, as a choir from the German Lutheran Christuskirche in London came to sing at Bradford Cathedral, when one of those who spoke also referenced it.  She was Faraha Mussanzi, who manages the Millside Community Centre in central Bradford.  

Her father was a peace activist who had to flee the Congo seventeen years ago - and she followed into exile as a refugee aged ten.  It was the text she said had eventually enabled her to see a calling for what she now does.  

And the choir sang five poem settings by Orlando Gough; new to me, and very welcome discoveries.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Bingley Five Rise Lock

Not far from us, but we only got there (for a canal-side walk into Saltaire) for the first time on my Day Off on Thursday.

Meanwhile, among all the appreciations of the service and sermon at yesterday's royal wedding, I haven't seen any comment that (unlike Prince William's wedding seven years ago) it was the Common Worship form of service which was used; it is strange that it was apparently unthinkable so recently and it is good that it is now literally unremarkable. 

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Hope deferred

Garth Hewitt performing in St Michael's on Sunday night, praying and encouraging prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.  An inspirational evening, but the Director of the Amos Trust (which Garth founded) now blogs with quotations from two of the most prominent workers for peace, one Palestinian ('I have no more hope - Jerusalem, Gaza, Israel at war with Iran - the young people despair and will become more extreme') and one Jewish ('It is not about hope... you just wake up in the morning and do the right thing'). 

The Churches Together Pop-Up Shop on Main Street, Haworth opened today.  The shop owner goes on holiday for a few days each year to allow this major fund raising (and awareness raising) event all this week.

A picture taken through the vestry window at St Gabriel's just before the service on Sunday morning, here for those who travel in places made dark by the shadow of death.

Monday 7 May 2018

The race marked out for us

Here is the main pack of the Tour de Yorkshire passing the end of our road yesterday.  Their much prepared for and welcome but fleeting passage through the parish has been a disproportionately dominant feature of our lives – and happened to make our morning service at Haworth inaccessible to the less determined on just this one Sunday in the year.

Meanwhile, I’ve been dipping into the public conservative Bible Study material prepared for American legislators, praised by the President and supported by the Vice President.  Influential campaigners for the election of Christian representatives expressed their disappointment that such elections did not make the difference anticipated and have consciously moved into the work of strengthening the biblical understanding of those in danger of being liberalised by the arguments and the give and take  of the legislative process.

The authorship of the first five books of the Bible are attributed to Moses (because otherwise Jesus would have been lying in his references to them).  The possibility of human influence on ecosystems is dismissed (because God is sovereign in creation).  America’s prosperity is explicitly linked with its unconditional support for the policies of the government of the present day State of Israel (because the flourishing of God’ s chosen people and its supporters is so characterised in biblical material).  The validity of State support for the vulnerable in society is rejected (because no such structures are characterised in biblical material). 

Perhaps there is a helpful clarity in seeing (at least a major important element of) the fundamental difference between right wing reasoning in Britain and in America as being these theological starting points.   Policies which (to take the obvious but very disparate examples) bring wealth at the risk of polluting the environment, affirm Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, and reduce state support for affordable medical care for the poorest, are consistent and predictable - and are certainly so based as not to be vulnerable to secular argumentation.