I do hope that you are all managing to get some rest and relaxation this August, whether it is at home, in the UK, or abroad. It is good that restrictions have been relaxed to allow this and indeed to allow more socialisation, but we must not become complacent, today’s infection rate stands at 33,904 up 4,292 from last week, the virus is still alive and active. So the message is still the same, be careful and stay safe.
I’m sure like me, many of you reacted with alarm and horror at the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban. My fear is that 20 years of development, especially in the field of women’s education, empowerment and employment will be dashed on the rocks of religious fundamentalism. I cannot begin to imagine the fear that so many ordinary people must feel at the prospect of Taliban rule. Where does the West go from here…?
As citizens (subjects!) of this country we enjoy extraordinary freedom. We must remember that these freedoms were bought by others paying a heavy price, we must never become complacent. I believe, and I hope other people see in me an open, inclusive and liberal individual. I refuse to bow to bitterness and isolationism, I know I am very lucky , I live in an amazing, beautiful and relatively safe place. I earn enough to live and enjoy the freedom to be generous. Others are not so lucky. However, I do not believe that we will further the development and security of our people and planet by becoming isolationist, resentful of others and greedy for our own gain.
Why do I believe this? Because my faith is based on a God who took flesh, and who ultimately gave his life for the liberation of humanity. We will sing this hymn on Sunday 29 August, I think it says it all…
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea;
there’s a kindness in his justice
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are more keenly felt than heaven:
there is no place where earth’s failings
have such gracious judgement given.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind/
But we make his love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify his strictness
with a zeal he will not own.
For the love of God is broader
than the measure of our mind;
and the heart of the eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more simple,
we should take him at his word;
and our lives would be all gladness,
in the joy of Christ our Lord.
As many of you will be aware, the Chiswick Book Festival takes place in September. There are leaflets at the back of church giving details of all the events, or you can find full details on their website www.chiswickbookfestival.net
This year our former churchwarden Suzette Llewellyn will be taking part in a couple of events to discuss her newly published book Still Breathing: 100 Black Voices on Racism. She is one of many local authors with a brief presentation slot at the Local Authors Party on Tuesday 7th September, and on Saturday 11th September at 11.30 she has a full length discussion of her book with her co-author and two contributors. If you are interested in attending either of these events I suggest you book a place as soon as possible as tickets are selling fast. They can either be booked online via the website or you can pick up an advance booking form at St Michael & All Angels Church. Books are available to purchase from Waterstones in Chiswick High Road or after each event, and most authors will stay after their talk to sign them.
With every blessing