War and peace
Assistant Rector's House - June 2004
Looking at this weeks Radio Times I noticed there is to be a programme about some of the conflicts going on around the globe; in fact they are looking at 16 such conflicts (although there are at least 30 major conflicts going on at this time). We are used to praying for Iraq, we know that parts of Africa are very unstable, the Sudan and the Congo for instance; many of us know about Burma (Myanmar); we are probably not shocked by the number of conflicts around our world and know there are many others not reported on. As we approach a time of celebration of our patronal festival at St. Peters we also will be involved in events marking the outbreak of the first world war; the war to end all wars!
The language of war and of peace, the language of politicians and leaders is a language we think we understand; they use words we understand but their meaning is another thing. The same can be true of the church; we think we speak the same language, and therefore think we mean the same thing but we often don’t. It is as much about our ability to listen as to speak; and not just to listen but to hear, and to hear not just the words but also the intentions behind the words, and about having the wisdom and discernment to look beyond the words to the possible consequences.
The book of Revelation contains many words that seem strange, maybe even unhelpful, puzzling at times, but it also says this - Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches - we will have celebrated at the end of May the feast of Pentecost, the giving of the Spirit, not just to the church but to the world. How desperately we need to have ears to listen to what the Spirit says. How desperately our world needs people who will listen.