Grounding Ourselves in What is Real
Last month in my piece for the parish magazine I wrote about new ideas about immortality that are emerging from Silicon Valley and the belief that some people there have that, within a generation, it might be possible to achieve a form of digital immortality. Quite frankly, the whole idea fills me with horror. I look on the one hand at the wonder of a world, fifteen billion years in the making, created by a wondrously patient God who waits patiently for life in all its fullness to emerge and the human desire to have everything now.
Actually, I am not being fair to most humans here. Most of the human race have no choice but to bear with the struggles of life with few resources. However, there are a few people who have huge resources and very little patience. In terms of maturity they are like children who cannot wait for their birthday but want all their presents now. Little children with massive wealth. An appalling combination.
So, what do we do? On the one hand I have to accept that it may be possible that people, like Ray Kurzweil, Elon Musk and others, may actually achieve some version of the immortality that they seek. People like them have little respect for ancient wisdom. The old stories that tell of people who gain immortality but find they have only achieved eternal misery mean nothing to them. They believe in their own greatness. And not only do they not respect wisdom. They don't respect the law either. They like to get their own way and feel that they have the right to do so.
It may be as Herbert Butterfield, Regius Professor of History at Cambridge between 1963 and 1968, taught in his 1949 book, Christianity and History, that there are boundaries in history, shaped by the law of God, that cannot be crossed; and that when people try to cross them, they come under divine judgement. I hope that this is true. It is this kind of judgement that I referred to last time in mentioning C.S Lewis's story, That Hideous Strength.
But whatever happens I believe that each one of us, whether we call ourselves religious or not, need to ground ourselves in what is real. We need to learn how to love the body that we have been given, with all of its frailties, and we need to learn to learn how to love the world around us. That will include all the people that we live with, even when they get in our way. And it means to learn to love the world itself on every day, whether the day dawns bright or cheerless. It means to immerse ourselves in it and not to create sterile spaces for ourselves in our perfect cars and homes and offices that we move between with minimal contact with the world outside. It means, as the wonderful Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh put it, to receive "With grace the grace of living and wild moments too, Self when freed from you".
Revd Stephen Winter
Ombersley Church and School Fete - Thank you to Everyone!
The Church and School Fete on Saturday 22ndJune was an amazing success and weren't we lucky with the weather? Our success was due to a great number of people who gave their time and skills in so many different ways, both in the planning and preparation and on the day itself.
The final figure for the day is not yet confirmed but we think that it will be another bumper year with profits of around £8000. Thank you for your generosity and support. We are giving 10% to our two selected Fete charities - this year, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Wild Goose Training Centre whose stall you will have seen at the Fete - and, as last year, sharing a percentage of the profits with our partners in the Fete, Ombersley Endowed First School. The remainder goes towards the running and repairs of our church itself.
We will be meeting regularly between now and the next Fete to review our successes and work through any issues that we spotted; if you have any ideas that we may be able to use next year please do send your thoughts to Liz Hooper (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Roz Shipley (email@example.com).
Next year's date is Saturday 21st June - put it in your diaries now!
Praying the Parish
If you have a particular need or things to be grateful for, please let either of us know:
Rev Stephen Winter via the parish office 01905 622464 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Angie Randle 01905 620753 email@example.com
or James Homer 01299 851637 firstname.lastname@example.org [lay reader with pastoral responsibility for 7 Parishes]
Areas for July:
Sunday 1st July - Racks Lane, Chapel Lane, Longheadland
Sunday 8th July - Uphampton, Northampton, Lineholt, Malvern View,
Sunday 15th July - Doverdale, St Mary's Church, Sytchampton,
Areas for August:
Sunday 5th August - Lincomb, The Winnalls, Acton, Mount Pleasant
Sunday 12th August - Sandys Road, Wellington Road, The Hamptons
Sunday 19th August - Oakfield Road, Woodhall Lane/Close
If you would like a place of quiet to pray, or think, or just rest, the church is always open during the day - using the side door.
There are booklets and cards of prayers available in the basket near the door which you may find helpful.