Since the last letter, Spring has really arrived in the South East of the UK. A series of warm, sunny days have tempted the buds to open on the magnolia trees and the forsythia is striking in its bright yellow dress. If you have seen our latest letter on the tomato site you will see that we are also just about to pick the first tomatoes of the season. Then our Spring to Autumn work schedule starts in earnest with work beginning in the glasshouse at 0800 hours before the sun warms the place up too much.
We often say to ourselves that we are tremendously privileged to be here, as monks. There is space and quietness for a considered Christian commitment in worship and prayer but also the opportunity to share in the ordinary work of those who have to earn their living in society.
You may point out, of course, how sheltered we are here as monks. What about the terrible sufferings that so many people in the world have to face? There are parts of the world where even life itself is at a premium in the face of great evils.
There are two answers to these comments. One is that the limited good that may come of our commitment to Christ here in the monastery is not annulled by the evil elsewhere in the world and it may go some way to being a counter balance. The other point to think about is that we must all, at some time, answer our own doubts about why we are here - what we are doing - and what is the meaning of all life? It is not enough to shrug these ultimate questions off. But on the other hand none of us certainly has a 'final solution'! Only the dogmatists have that!
Perhaps, gently, there may come into our thoughts that what Jesus was and stood for is the answer to all these niggling questions. He provides, not a catechism of unalterable truths, but a new life in friendship and commitment to him and to the God whom he reflected in his life and death.
But he who was dead is alive, the Christ of God!
That is the crucial factor in our search for meaning and truth in this life.
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