What a beginning!

I’ve been on my post-Christmas holiday.  I had to wait on this occasion until after the New Year had arrived and my colleagues had had their time off.  So it was great to be able to preside at the Eucharist early on New Year’s day, the Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus (Mary Mother of God in the Roman Calendar), and to pray for God’s blessing on the year and the new decade that lay before us.

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Wonderful fireworks in London to welcome a new decade

Having been warned off horoscopes as a child by our vicar when I was preparing for Confirmation – it was one of the sins mentioned in the list of potential sins that we were given, a kind of checklist of naughtiness – and never having ventured into Madam Zaza’s gypsy tent on a pier to have my fortune told, I’ve never really been that interested in knowing in advance what is waiting round the corner for me.  As Jesus so wonderfully puts it in St Matthew’s Gospel and in the translation of the King James Version

‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’ (Matthew 6.34)

But the events that we have been dealing with so far this year have been monumental in their different ways. In Australia the year began as it ended, with fire sweeping across the bush and the forests and threatening communities and lives.

Then President Trump decides to order the assassination of Major General Qassem Suleimani whilst he was in Iraq.  As so many commentators have said, his actions have caused the deaths of many people.  But it felt like an act of real and dangerous provocation on the part of the President without any sense of what the next steps would be. Then the news of the crash of the Ukrainian Airline flight and the death of 173 people was terrible.  And now we have learnt that this was as a result of a catastrophic mistake when a missile was launched against it the level of danger in the region is even more real.

And finally the Duke and Duchess of Sussex make their announcement about how they see their future and none of us quite knows where this leaves them, or the rest of the Royal Family but we are assured that all will become clear very quickly.

Whilst all of this has been going on, the House of Commons approved the ‘Brexit Bill’ and it has now been passed to the House of Lords.  The cameras and the crowds have left College Green, the flags are no longer waving and the whole business if our withdrawal is now moving towards its inevitable conclusion.  Cathedrals are being asked whether or not they will be asking their ringers to ring on the night of 31 January a peal of joy but maybe silent prayer is the answer in these circumstances.

Then some very good news as the Northern Ireland Assembly makes a return to Stormont and takes up the responsibility of the governance of the Province.  Those who have managed and encouraged this have to be congratulated.

What a beginning!  I never saw any of this coming!

At Southwark Cathedral we are beginning our Year of Vision.  Each term during this year we will be concentrating on one of the three key words in our value statement – inclusive, faithful, radical.  So this term our focus will be on what it really means for us to be an inclusive community and that has to be much more than being LGBT+ friendly, which is what we are so often known for, though it will continue to mean that, but more besides.  What I do know is that with all that is happening it is vital to have vision. As it says in the Book of Proverbs

‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ (Proverbs 29.18)

Whether it is in relation to the environment, global politics, internal order, the shape of our institutions, the lives of individuals, the place of the church, we need vision, and we need to hold to it.

God, give us clear vision
and a commitment to it.
Amen.

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A Southwark Cathedral Pilgrimage 2017

sabbaticalthoughtsblog.wordpress.com/

Canda, Jerusalem, Mucknall

Southwark Diocesan Pilgrimage 2016

Hearts on Fire - Pilgrims in the Holy Land

A good city for all

A good city for all

In the Steps of St Paul

Southwark Cathedral Pilgrimage June 2015

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Led by the Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn

Andrew Nunn's reflections from General Synod

the personal views of the Dean of Southwark