How should we live together ?
This is the questsion that keeps coming back to me. It is the question to which I would like to find answers. If I ever get to write my book on ethics this will be the central issue. Some clues emerge from my experiences this week.
Most of the time has been spent decorating the chapel in Edward Street, Dunstable. From Wednesday to Saturday a team of us moved furniture, filled in cracks, washed down walls and painted ceiling, walls, doors and skirting boards. There was never less than four of us and sometimes seven or eight. Between spells of work we sat and chatted over tea and coffee, and on long days shared lunch and dinner. It was a remarkably efficient and well coordinated process! Partly due to the spread-sheet of tasks and their allotted times drawn up by Mary. But we were all willing to do what was necessary. Some worked up on high, some bent down to do the lower parts, some did the middle bits, and some did a little of each. By Saturday afternoon it was done and we were well satisfied. And even if it isn’t perfect it was done with love.
During a break we thought about worship on 7th August. We looked at Bible passages and thought about what would be going on around the world that week. We remembered the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We took note of what the service theme would be the week before. One of the key phrases was about where your treasure is there is there your heart will be. We thought about the future and how we in different ways try to ensure our security. So we focussed on ‘the challenge of tomorrow’s day’. We will hear stories from the media, read Luke 12.32-38 from a version called “Good as new”, and make peace cranes. We will also sing a hymn written specially for the occasion and offer a prayer of Rededication for the chapel.
This is the hymn. It can be used freely with acknowledgement. It goes to the tune Hyfrydol.
When we feel afraid and frightened;
when the world seems full of pain;
do we trust in borders tightened,
to protect us time and again?
Should we welcome every stranger
seeking for our common ground;
making peace to lessen danger,
trusting in shared truth we found?
When tomorrow threatens terror,
and the news is full of hate,
do we just compound the error
blocking beggars at the gate?
Should we draw on deep devotion
to the Love that gave us life;
finding cause for Christ’s compassion
in the face of war-torn strife?
When we wake up to the warning
that our world may be destroyed;
when we listen to the crying
of the poor and unemployed;
then we need to heed the saying
‘Be prepared’ and prompt to act;
for the challenge will be coming
and our faith should be intact.
Therefore, people of compassion,
be prepared by finding friends,
building bridges, easing tension,
seek forgiveness, make amends.
Practice patient, constant kindness,
listen to the quiet voice.
Fill your life with grace and goodness.
Be content and so rejoice!
Terry Oakley 31.7.16