“Nowadays I often hear it said that there is a vast difference between a religion like Christianity & purely human striving for self-fulfilment, & that the two are incompatible. This reading from John 4 (Jesus meeting the woman at the well) may show us that we will not find God in any other way than by understanding at least the reasons why we are unhappy. At this point Jesus helps the woman to understand what she is looking for, what she wants, & what it is that keep throwing her back into disappointments & blind alleys. Only at this point, when the woman’s life is sorted out, does their conversation turn to religion. Here the contrast is renewed: You Jews worship in Jerusalem, we Samaritans on Gerizim, & which of the religions our ancestors taught us is correct, which is true? Jesus evokes a shocking breath from the dawn of history when he addresses the life of this woman. It is not a question of fixing belief through its origins & traditions. What God wants are people who turn to God out of their own inner truth & spirit, out of a solid conviction. Everything the woman has learned in this dialogue enters into her own truth & reality. Then comes the question: how can such a conviction in spirit & truth be articulated & expressed? Could it not be that we know everything & yet do not know how to live, here & now? In our Church we so often hear it said that we should not be impatient. We cannot expect changes immediately, & everything comes to those who wait. We wait & wait until the twelfth of never. So this woman, in her faith & confusion says, “I know that the Messiah is coming, & will explain everything to us. But when?” there is only one way to live as a Christian “Who, if not I, & when, if not now?”, & no delay is permitted. Then we will see, in the person of Jesus, that the barriers between heaven & earth are opened & there is no longer any opposition between God & human beings, or between the language of religion & that of human self-fulfilment, & that there is no longer any basis for barriers between human beings here on earth. Even the people in Sychar will say later on “We no longer believe because of what you said, woman, for we have heard it ourselves.” (The Open Tomb: Eugen Drewermann) Our Parish Vision Prayer
We pray that we may be a growing community
Which, thorough the power of the Holy Spirit, joyfully serves the mission given to us by Jesus Christ.
We pray that we may be a welcoming family
in which, young or old, you are known by name, loved and accepted as you are, invited to pray, to share your life, to heal and to grow, to enjoy a loving relationship with God, yourself and others, and so become the person you were created to be.
We pray that together we may reach out in love
To serve the needs of the world and offer the joy and hope of the Gospel to others, through our actions, our words and the example of our lives, responding above all to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, so that in all things God our Father will be glorified.
Living God, you walk alongside us & speak to us throughout the Scriptures. Your Son, Jesus Christ, listens to our hopes & fears & shows us how to live for one another. Send us the Holy Spirit to open our hearts & minds so that we may be your witnesses throughout the world. Amen. V. Your word is our path & your truth is our light. R. This day & every day. (Prayer of the Word for the Year of the Word)
Our journey towards the eventual amalgamation of our three Churches continues, & some of our Coordinating Group & Vision Group are to meet on Tues evening to discuss & discern a number of key issues in our attempt to help each & every parishioner through this difficult time of transition & change. During this season of Lent, & its moment of extra prayer & recollection, please let us pray especially for each other as we meet the challenges & opportunities differently & yet, vitally & hopefully, together. I will be in a position very soon to bring to each of our three Churches an update of where we are, & where we hope to be into the future, &, to arrange a full Parish meeting, where we can each listen to each other & from which I will seek your advice & wisdom.