My favourite weather is cold and sunny—Scandinavian weather I call it, however inaccurate that may be. I like cool breezes, the nip in the air. I like the clear skies where ‘you can see clearly now the rain has gone’. Well actually, the rain hasn’t gone, and I don’t even mind that. When you’ve grown up around Penrith, and got soaked most mornings walking the mile or so from King Street bus stop to the Grammar School, you get used to rain, and you realise pretty soon that once you’re wet through (after about 20 seconds, I recall), you don’t get any wetter, and before long you dry out. Anyway, back to the plot. Cold and sunny, good views, a nip in the air, a call to action if you want to keep warm. And at this time of year, lovely colourful leaves. I prefer this to the sweaty heat and hazy, lazy days of summer. I like being able to see into the distance. This could be a cue for writing trite rubbish about how life is like a journey, but you can see that for yourselves, so I won’t.
What’s all this got to do with the sort of stuff the Rector should write in the monthly magazine? I’ve no idea: it’s stream-of-consciousness garbage that comes into my head. Although, maybe it does have something to do with the need for having some idea of where we’re headed. This is a need for hope. Not that things will get better, but that things might get better, and that we can do stuff to try and help things get better. It involves differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t (I find this difficult, railing on about the intractable). The need to try to manage as best we can, and help those who can’t. I hear people say ‘they should do something about ….’ Why leave it to others? Perhaps we should, not they should.
It involves, too, the need to take responsibility for ourselves. If I curl up in a corner and say ‘woe is me for nobody cares’, then perhaps it’s something do with the fact that I curled up in a corner, so what else can I expect? On the way to a meeting in Ashbourne the other day I heard someone telling the airwaves that s/he had been ‘attacked’, and because s/he was very drunk indeed, s/he’d been unable to resist. S/he said ‘I’ve a right to get very drunk if I want.’ Well, if we’ve the right to get incapably drunk, we’ve a duty to accept the consequences—the possibility of attack, alcoholic liver disease, and so on. To take responsibility for our actions. We, church and community, have a duty to tend those we find who need tending. The question is … where do our responsibilities stop? Are we justified in interfering in the lives of someone else, or some other country, on the basis of our own personal standards. Is there a universal standard we can use as a guide. Well, given that I’m the Vicar, you know what I’ll say, so I won’t say it. And what was Jesus’ message? There were lots, and they certainly include taking responsibility for yourself. The most challenging, partly because it involves not feeling sorry for yourself, is that we should love our …. neighbour? Well yes, but all the faiths say that. What did Jesus say? He said ‘love your enemies.