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Monday, July 16, 2007

Judgement Day

Yesterday in his sermon, the Vicar asked what believed, in fact if we believed in the Day of Judgement. The Gospel was about loving your neighbour and included the story of the Good Samaritan.

What I remember about the sermon:

The 10 commandments are the means to our liberation.

The fact that the Samaritan did all he could do for the victim and that the others did not implies that the others were not obeying the commandment of loving their neighbour.

But what is Judgement? Are we to face a list of our wrong-doings, sin by sin, throughout the days of our lives? Will there be a list and somewhere on that list will there be the date of 12 October and the fact that at 3.14 pm I beat my little brother to a pulp because he wouldn't give me his candy? Also, it seems to me that the idea of answering for our sins was somehow at odds with the teachings of our church that our sins are forgiven if we but ask -- the slate is wiped clean, we begin again.

But maybe that's not really what it is about at all. Somewhere in scripture, I believe it says there will be many tears and much gnashing of teeth. That image of 'gnashing teeth' has always been very clear to me, for some reason! So what could it be about, this Judgement Day?

Could it not be that it is about having the 'scales fall from our eyes' and the 'veil rent and torn' so that we can see who we are, who we have been and all the pain and sorrow that has made us that way as well as all the pain and sorrow that our ways have caused others. And this judgement is our catharsis -- our reconciliation with God. Judgement becomes revelation and cleansing.

So then what about condemnation? And Atonement? Redemption?

Ah! The Mysteries of Faith ...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Gosh, Time Flies and I Wasn't Always Having Fun

Except for going to Venice for my birthday weekend. That was fun and happy. And the weather, except for my actual birthday was perfect, too. The great thing about Venice is that it doesn't disappoint, it's more than you expect. Tourists are a problem, but how can a fellow tourist complain about that! And unbelievably it will only be far worse when the real tourist season begins. Unfortunately, we only had a very short time -- an afternoon, in fact, but there will be a next time, God willing, and three days is the minium time to see anything of what we hope. But it was a wonderful day spent with my son, who was able to show us around quite ably. He is living and working in the beautiful Veneto area of Italy in the district of the Prosecco grape and we thoroughly enjoyed the company and hospitality of the family of his girlfriend.

The following week saw the turnover of one Prime Minister to another. Feels kind of weird as we all wait to see which way the wind blows with Gordon Brown. Nobody can really tell if he bodes for good or ill, but we all hope for the best. So far at least for me, I am feeling more positive than negative. In the meantime, nary a day had passed and there was a terrorist plot revealed. This time by NHS doctors. This has given quite some pause for thought.

No longer can people ignore the fact that it is not only the uneducated or disaffected Islamic youth who hunger for our destruction. I read today that almost immediately Fox news sent out the meme that socialized medicine produces terrorists! Which brings us to another topic now out for public discussion: the medical catastrophe endemic throughout the United States, thanks to Michael Moore's latest movie, SiCKO. Congratulations, Michael, on a job well done -- and about time, too.

Many Americans have been impressed by the attitude of the British public towards the recent bombing threats. The press has covered the story, but the feeling here by public and media alike is to get on with life and take it in our stride -- be vigilant and get back to living our lives. Just so, say I!

Well for today and tomorrow the weather is supposed to be nice -- here in Southport, Merseyside. Then it's back to rain and more rain. France beckons in the near future, but the weather there has been off and on so who knows what it will be like by the time we get there. I'm off. Must write more often.