1 December 2021 |

It was good to welcome Rev David Skitt to lead our service and Communion on Sunday 7th November. He and Martin always produce fascinating nuggets of information which enhance the sermon for me and help me to remember the general drift. David mentioned how the person who began the Tour de France bike race found himself editing a cycling magazine after he was sacked from his dream job and began the race as a way of making his job more interesting. My Grandma used to tell us that as one door closed another would open a message delivered as theatrically as she could. That message stuck, prob ably due to the mode of delivery.

In our Sunday paper was an article about Sir Michael Palin and his love for old churches. So far as I could understand walking into churches sometimes quite randomly had taken him to places of peace, wrapping him comfortably enveloping him in the atmosphere . He describes himself as a questioning agnostic so not an obvious person to crave the solace of a church building. He is actively involved in saving church buildings and the article is illustrated by beautiful old church buildings. I remember as a student during the 1970s when we had 3 day working weeks and sometimes a lack of electric light we gave a concert by candlelight in Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. The atmosphere was more electric than the lighting we lacked and I think the stoniest heart must have felt something of the presence of God.

A propos the conference in Glasgow I heard on a radio programme that when questioned 80% of the world’s population claim to hold religious beliefs.I wonder how that information was sought but it was said authoritatively. The context was to ask why when there were so many groups present at COP26 there was no category for religious groups. I suspect as many were already involved in other groups but it is an interesting question.

With regards COP26 and the changes on our planet I wonder how many others are confused not by the reality of climate change but how best to address it. As I understand it currently electric cars require batteries which in turn require material hewn out of mountains using dynamite. Whatever we eat seems to bring its own problem. If we ban meat then what happens to all the herds? I remember the horrible pyres of cattle during the ‘mad cow’ era. We were created to be omnivores-will we evolve differently . Some point at the growing population in the world and think we should not have children but that leaves an even more age heavy population without the young fit workers. David said in his sermon that St Paul advised the Thessalonians to do what they could , do it as a team and go on to bring an outcome. That certainly is pertinent to our current climate predicament . It seems the role of the religious groups is to find the will of God in this very confusing situation.

Something else I read in my Sunday paper was how unwelcome people were made to feel when they relocated to some part of the rural UK. They were subjected to very rude harassment and told in no uncertain terms to go back whence they came. This has been the week the Yorkshire Cricket Club have been lambasted for their racist treatment of team members in the past. It seems there are those in our country who do not treat well anyone they see as different, perhaps anyone who disturbs their status quo. When the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement came to the fore I remember someone who said all lives matter was pilloried as racist. A colleague of mine who was born and bred in London but who is of Ghanaian ethnicity told me that even now there is a daly reminder of some sort that her appearance is different and maybe she is less accepted and that is not right. Our lives are surely enriched by having all sorts of people in our community but nevertheless I still prefer to follow Christ’s teaching that each one of us is of equal value and nobody should be treated badly by a fellow being whatever their starting point at birth or how they present as adults. At least as a person well beyond youth I am not tempted to indulge in social media and suffer the indignities and horrors of trolls and others who have nothing better to do than trash their fellow citizens. Computers I am told are bad for the climate so maybe there is a message there.

Jill Pipe