fr_simonDear Friends

As I mentioned last week, my sabbatical allowed me to read some very good books. True Wilderness by Harry Williams was one. The Dignity of Difference by Jonathan Sacks was another. It is a book about the impact of globalisation, how we respond to the inevitable feelings of insecurity and isolation and how religion once considered to be a dying force has emerged in the twenty first century to be a potent power, sometimes good,so often it seems bad. Jonathan Sacks argues that faith communities need to find a way of living together and communicating with each other which acknowledges points of difference yet makes space for dialogue and respect. “Can we see the presence of God in the face of the stranger?” It seems to me that if we are committed to reverse the tendency to slip back into old tribalisms we need to acknowledge the other. We need to speak not only within the comfort zones of our own faith communities and societies but we need to acknowledge the good and the godly in others, even those whose belief systems seems so at odds with ours. Jonathan Sacks argues for a ‘Generosity of Spirit’ and the courage to seek peace not only on our terms, but with the courage to coexist with compromise.

It’s a book worth reading, I commend it to you.


Jonathan Sacks : The Dignity of Difference. How to avoid the clash of civilisations

Dear Friends,

One of the many things that puzzles me in life is this. Mankind has the ability and technology for a camera from a space station approximately 250 miles high up in space to zoom in on and read the front page of a newspaper. So we have the ability to do this but we are unable to locate the wreckage of flight MH370 which disappeared somewhere in the Indian ocean two years ago this week? How can a plane weighing several hundred tons and carrying 239 people just disappear off the face of the earth? The odd fragment of wreckage has been found but despite a massive rescue operation being mounted – which is still ongoing – the hunt for flight MH370 continues.

And of course the people I feel deeply for are the relatives of those on board. They are in a state of limbo; unable to mourn or grieve properly or give their loved ones a funeral. When you have lost a loved one, the funeral is a very important part of the grieving process. You never ever as some people say “get over” the loss of a loved one, you just learn how to deal with it and the pain becomes less raw as the weeks pass. But you never “get over it” and nor should you want to, because the pain that one experiences through death of a loved one reminds us of the love that was shared and the memories and experiences that were created. In your prayers this week, please remember all those on that flight and their relatives and those involved in the search operation.

With every blessing,

Fr Andrew

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