Rector's Letter - June 2016

Dear Friends,

In the "olden days", before the advent of Xboxes and iPads, one the ultimate toys for boys was a model railway set. If you had the room, money and passion you could make for yourself a little world of your own, where you were in complete control. You could place the tracks how you wanted, you could build model villages, you could place little plastic people just as you pleased. You were in complete control. Well almost complete, as there are laws of nature that are necessary for existence, like gravity. So unless you drove the train too fast and caused an accident, you had a perfectly safe little world, and you were the "god" in control of that world.

We like to think that the real world works like that too, with God in control. After all, God, by definition must be Almighty. So everything that happens, good or bad, must be somehow in His plan, because, God, like the owner of our train set world, can do exactly what He likes. Oh, of course, even God is restricted by the laws of necessity for the world to function, like gravity and so on. But apart from that he controls things just as He pleases.

But that raises a BIG PROBLEM!! If God is so good and so powerful why do such terrible things happen in the world? This question has always puzzled people. Is He punishing us, or trying to teach us a lesson?

This world is not a toy train set world. We are not little plastic figures that can be placed exactly how God chooses. We are not God's toys, but human beings, loved by God. Because God loves us, He has given us freewill. We can choose what we do, where we go, what we say. Almighty God, could, with one word make us do exactly what He wanted, and the world could then presumably run perfectly. But we would be no more than God's "toys", not free children of God. So God chooses to draw back His power, and gives it to us. HIS will now depends on OUR consent. That has to be the way of love. So although He is in charge of everything, He is not necessarily in control of everything that happens. That depends on us, on our consent.

But that is not the end of the story. At the very centre of the Christian faith is Jesus, the Son of God, suffering on the Cross. This is the ultimate picture of God! Not all-powerful, but helpless. Not causing suffering, but meeting it head on. God identifies and shares in our suffering and pain and then redeems it. That is the amazing, wonderful, mind-blowing, unique Good News of Christianity. God's Almighty power is the power of love, and although it depends on our consent, our cooperation, we can be sure that goodness, truth and love will win in the end.

With my love and prayers,
Yours, in Christ, John.

Verse for the Month

“Now we see but a poor reflection, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall fully know, even as I am fully known. And now these tree remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:12-13


2016
Webpage icon Rural Dean's Letter - December 2016
Webpage icon Rev'd John Benson's Eulogy
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - October 2016
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - September 2016
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - August 2016
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - July 2016
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - May 2016
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - April 2016
Webpage icon Charity Visit to The Gambia - February 2016
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - March 2016
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - February 2016
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - January 2016