It’s great to go away on holiday, it’s equally good to return home. Holidays are holidays precisely because they are a break from the routine, a little bit of necessary escapism, but we can’t remain on holiday for ever, however wonderful the location, we need to return to the reality of our lives and experiences. There are many who would suggest that faith is a form of escapism, an attempt to deny the reality of our situation and our ultimate future. I’m not so sure, of course there are elements of faith which pander to this notion, I would suggest these are the least healthy aspects of faith. The reality, at least for me, is that faith allows me to confront the absolute reality of my situation, ‘remember that thou are dust and to dust thou shalt return’ it confronts me with the reality of my responsibility to my fellow human beings. I and you are not islands entire of ourselves, but members of a wider community, of a wider family, there is this connectedness – something the new Bishop of London is keen to explore. So far from using faith as a means of escape, we use faith in its proper sense, to confront the reality of ourselves, our lives and relationships. To rejoice in who we are, made in the image of God, freed by faith and forgiveness, to grow in holiness and humanity. free to make mistakes on our journey, and free to forgive others their failings too. Free to engage in mature conversations and relationships. Free and empowered to make God’s love a reality and so contribute to human flourishing – now there’s a word I would like to spend much more time considering.
Yes, its good to go away on holiday, but its vital that we return home.
Those of you who were at our 10.30 Mass last Sunday will have heard Fr Ben Humphries speaking about life in his parish of White City, one of the least affluent parts of this area, and the generosity and devotion of his parishioners to the life and ministry of their church. It was a very moving account, not least when he described the generous and sometimes sacrificial level of their financial giving. Our churchwarden, Susan Marshall, has given a summary of the main points of his sermon below, for those who were unable to attend. It is evidence of the way in which our modest financial contribution to parishes such as theirs via our Common Fund contributions is much appreciated. This coming Sunday is the last of our three Planned Giving Sundays. We have already received a number of generous new pledges so I encourage those of you who have decided to join – or increase – your contributions, but have not yet got around to doing so, to do so as soon as possible please. We will be announcing the results of our campaign on Harvest Sunday, October 7th.
Some of you might have seen the article by Frank Field in The Times last Saturday in its regular Credo slot. He was writing about the link between his faith and his political activity. Frank refers to St Nicholas, Chiswick, its ‘constrained Catholic worship’ and describes its ‘valuable gift in trying to see the world in sacramental terms’. I have left some photocopies of his article on the table at the back of church – do take a copy if you are interested. The full version of this piece can be found at thetimes.co.uk.
With every blessing