Thursday, 4th February — Date of writing. Date of posting depends on BT
I thought Horrible Henry had blown through leaving me unscathed but we are without our phone again and the broadband is so slow that it can’t send blogs.
We did have a disaster last weekend but it was self-inflicted, as it were. We were expecting a dear friend from Cardiff for a few days so we left a joint of beef on the kitchen counter prior to roasting. Our Labrador is old and very arthritic; he walks very slowly, and can hardly manage steps, but in his youth, I have to admit, he was a thief.
When my ‘one and only husband so far’ couldn’t find the beef to put it in the oven he looked all over the house, including the utility, the garage and the boiler room, then he yelled for me. I looked at the dog. The dog, however, would not look at me, nor did he wag his tail, and when I made him stand I knew exactly where that three pound piece of rolled rib was.
Fortunately our guest had brought faggots from Cardiff market – a most satisfactory alternative.
Now to get to the purpose of this blog. Our two Archbishops, Canterbury and York, have just announced a week of evangelism in the Church of England. The week before Pentecost is being dedicated to the work of spreading the Gospel to the young.
I think this has great potential. For a start it’s only a week. We can easily maintain fervour and enthusiasm for seven days. I always thought Archbishop Carey’s idea of a Decade of Evangelism was a totally daft idea. Even a saint would give up hope at the prospect. I’m not surprised he’s in favour of assisted dying.
Thankfully, prayer is one of the few things that we can still do. It may have to be silent and in secret but that’s all right. (Matt 6 v6) The other half of the equation is a little more difficult. That will involve people of simple faith chatting about how it suffuses their lives. Where? When? How?
Quote the wrong bit of Scripture in the prison chapel and you’re likely to lose your job. Try and teach religious studies, even in a faith school, and you risk offending the British Humanist Society and anyone else who fancies being offended. Bring your children up to believe that Christian marriage – a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman – is best for fulfilled family life and you risk having those children whipped into care. It has already happened.
I would be happy to invite a group of youngsters into my home, to sit around the kitchen counter and chat and ask and answer questions, but would I be allowed to in this day and age? Would they need safe guarding, or would I?
And those prayers, secret and silent though they may be, are going to have to be very fervent considering what we’re up against. We have an enormous problem. How do we set on fire the hearts of youngsters who appear to have it All already. Many behave as if the whole world was in their pocket, on their phones and their tablets. Almost nothing is forbidden now and everything they want is available, instantly, at the touch of a button and the click of a switch. Somehow we have to encourage them to think about what they don’t have, ideas more valuable and wonderful than they have ever dreamed of. Some of them will believe us and will make the effort to discover these greater truths.
We will all have to pray with our hearts on fire. I think we all realise that we are fighting in the very last-ditch. That should give wings to our words and passion to our pleas.
Matt 21 v22 “and whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
An afterthought from “More One Minute Madness” by Father Anthony de Mello
“Allow me to explain the Good News my religion proclaims,’ said the preacher.
The Master was all attention.
“God is love. And He loves and rewards us for ever if we observe His commandments.”
“IF?” said the Master. ‘Then the news is not all good, is it?”