“Sumer is icumen in” – or in modern parlance, Summer is here and reports of the cuckoo have been around for weeks. If the skies are grey, cold raindrops are falling down your neck, or even if the imminent General Election is clouding your horizon, this light-hearted poem might raise your spirits!
When the Archbishops of Canterbury and York stepped into the election fray recently with an open letter it re-ignited the religion-vs-politics debate. However you read the letter, all they were really urging us all to do was our civic duty – to vote. I didn’t see it as a ‘party political’ letter – and my goodness, surely our contemporary politics can do with a modest input of the Christian values of love, hope, and courage.
Certainly, the Gospel has political implications. The Bible is littered with the kind of issues we debate at election times, and we only have to look at St Paul’s letters, where the problems faced by Christian communities were not so different from the ones we face today. Paul cared about what was going on and so he wrote some complex and rather over-long letters. It was not just practical advice. It was spiritual: doing what the Spirit still calls us to do – to care.
Whatever the eventual result of the election, controversies will continue, there will still be hard choices and we may (or may not) like what we think we see. How does this stack up with Jesus’ saying that he came that we might have life, life in all its fullness? The story of the Ascension in Acts has the angels, with a touch of wry humour, telling the disciples to stop gazing into heaven – and the disciples in obedience spiralling down into the practicalities, which are as holy as any heavenly vision.
As the pages of the Link reveal, during the coming Summer months, our villages will be buzzing with activities, for which fine weather will be high on our prayer list. These are indeed ‘holy practicalities’ at the heart of our life here. As we broaden our gaze in the months ahead, enjoying life in all its fullness, let’s not forget to thank God for those Christian values that enable all aspects of our life together to flourish. I believe the church is at the heart of our communities – it is our ‘arms wide open policy’ – and I look forward to many a happy meeting under a clear blue Summer sky!
Priest in charge
Priest in charge