Spring 2003

The crocus and the daffodil are certainly the sign that a change is taking place in the weather. The willow by the stream, always the first out, is showing buds too. One of the 'hobbies' of English people, growing and cutting green lawns(!) is also about to re-start. So there is much ahead of us in the natural sphere. It is the background to the uncertainty of world affairs, of war and terrorism, the possibility of starvation for many in Africa and the awful scourge of the AIDS virus.
Within that world picture there is the Christian church, divided into a multitude of denominations world wide. The message of the Christian gospel is that Christ has brought both to humanity and to the cosmos the gift of new life. At the heart of that is the offer of forgiveness but not without our forgiving our 'enemies'. Throughout Christian history there can be seen women and men who have actually lived out that demand. But for most of us it seems to evade us under many pretexts of getting 'justice' for wrongs done to us. It is all very human of course. Then there is the need to come to a decision about the real wrong doers - the perennial evil people who afflict millions with their hatred.
We might be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that all this is too difficult for us. But the gospel is not about automatic new life but about response to the free gifts of the Father offered in Christ today. It is for us to stretch our minds and hearts in that way and so be ready to come to the decisions with which we are faced in our daily life at this time. We are not to be simply reliant on the 'headlines' of the media dominated news of the world but to exercise our own minds and wills in important political questions as well as in daily affairs of our own. For the Christian this is a real challenge, to live out Christ's truth and peace.

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