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A church for people of all ages in the heart of the community

VICARS LETTER FOR THE MONTH

 

Vicar's Letter of the Month  - July and August

 

Reverend Lissa Scott writes …….

 

Dear Friends

 

I’ve just got back from Spain, where I heard a lot about the atrocities committed in the Spanish Civil War. Of course, there have been many atrocities committed all over the world over the centuries, as there still are today, but what I found especially shocking was the refusal of the church in Spain to acknowledge the evil of the actions perpetuated by the government.

 

I don’t want to get into politics as such, nor to suggest that the Spanish church was worse than many others. But it is terrible when the church is complacent, or so wedded to the status quo, that it turns a blind eye to the evils around it. The history of abuses which have been ignored reflects badly on many Christian denominations – whether we are talking about the slave trade, or racism, or sexual abuse.

 

The problem is that anything we do as a Church affects the way people see our faith. If so-called Christians don’t care enough about justice and mercy, then why on earth would anyone want to belong to such a body. Worse still, it affects the way they see our God. If worshipping God makes Christians behave like that, then people are likely to think that clearly he can’t be a God worth following!

 

I’m not sure that I have an answer to all of this. One of the problems we have in our language is that for many the word “Christian” represents the following of a certain set of Christian values. So if we call ourselves Christians, a common view is that we are setting ourselves up as being extra-good, as if we are incredibly holy, and so we are expected to behave in an especially moral way. We can explain till we are blue in the face that being Christian means that we believe certain things about God and Jesus Christ rather than that we claim to be incredibly virtuous, but this may still not be how people in general understand the situation.

 

In a way this is very unfair. We are not saying we are particularly good. What we are saying is that we know we get things wrong and mess up, which is why we need our faith, and church and God, to help us to get it right a bit more often. We can argue that rather than setting ourselves up as better than others, we are the ones who know we are flawed. We are less arrogant than others, because we accept that we need help to be good rather than trying to do it alone. And all this is true.

 

But it is also true that our faith should help us to live better lives, and that people should see the love of God shining out of us – and also his truth and integrity. When we go wrong, whether by ignoring evil, or by failing to control our own weaknesses, we are letting God down and being bad ambassadors for him, for our faith, and for the church, which Jesus setup as his body here on earth. Like it or not, we do have a big responsibility.

 

With every good wish

Lissa Scott