in soul pursuit

in soul pursuit

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Pastoral Letter in a Time of Brexit

Dear Friends

In response to some of the troubling conversations I have had this week please see below a Pastoral Letter.

Much love


A Pastoral Letter to a Friend in a Time of ‘Brexit’


‘In this you rejoice, even though now for a little while you have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, so that the genuineness of your faith – being more precious than gold which, though perishable, is refined through fire – may be found to result in the praise and glory and honour of the revelation of Jesus Christ.’ I Peter 1: 6-7


My dear friend,

You wrote this morning about how frightened you feel about what is happening in our continent at this time. First of all, let me reassure you that you are not alone. Like all people of heart and sensitivity you are distressed to see unscrupulous people exploiting human weaknesses, that we all have, for personal gain. In this, we are all suffering humanity and prey to the same dark forces of the unconscious. Within our own minds lie the racists, torturers and murderers of the short twentieth century – this much we should have all learnt by now. First and foremost, in reaction to recent events we are all called to repentance. We must all examine our consciences very carefully and acknowledge the part that we have played in contributing to the madness presently engulfing our countries.

Secondly, you are right – this is a time of trial. As St Peter reminds us, our faith must be tested. For years now we Christians have bemoaned the ebbing tide of faith on this continent. Well, God may have answered our prayers – but not quite in the way we were expecting. He is, after all, ‘the God of surprises’ and, well, he has surprised us again! In the coming days, weeks and months we shall all be tested at the deepest possible levels: mind, body, heart and, above all, spirit. As the Apostle warns us, this will be a refining and purifying fire and much will have to be burnt away. Sadly we are living at a time of appalling spiritual ignorance. The result of years of hollowing away of our collective spiritual literacy means that we are ill-equipped to survive the trial we are being summoned to. We believe there are only two things that, ultimately, can help us (as the church has always taught): the overwhelming love of Christ and the support of each other (the church on earth). Please be assured of my deepest prayers and support at this time and I ask for yours, dear friend, too. Together we shall support each other. We are being called to account – perhaps sooner than we might have expected. God help us all.

Finally, and probably least importantly, you enquire about the political situation. Tempting though it is to indulge in party politics I shall refrain from doing so. The facts are these: for the first time in our life-times our British parliamentary democracy is being tested in a way it has not been before. I have great faith in the wisdom, common-sense and good humour of my fellow countrymen and women and I feel confident that we shall find a way forward through this madness. However, we must also prepare for the worst. The poison of nationalism and racism has been injected into the veins of the Body Politic at a time of heightened terrorist activity. It is a dangerous drug and history teaches that once a people has tasted its artificial sweetness it becomes dependent upon it. Racism, and its concomitant dehumanising violence, must be resisted  at every level – otherwise we stare into the abyss.

In summary, then, dark forces are at work dear friend, however, when was that not the case! As Christians we live in the pale light of the Easter Dawn. In such light even the cruelty and barbarity of the cross is transfigured. What is for sure is that we all have a choice. We can run away or ignore it – yet how far, ultimately, will that get us? St Peter, fleeing persecution, encountered the Risen Lord walking determinedly back towards those very same horrors. ‘Quo Vadis Domine?’, he famously asked, ‘Where are you going to Lord?’ Now we must each ask our Lord the same question all over again. As the prophet says:


‘And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.

This is the interpretation of the matter:

MENE – God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end.

TEKEL – You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

PARSIN – Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.’

(Daniel 5: 25-31)


Our kingdom is divided. May God give us all strength to come through this time of trial.


Yours in solidarity with our fellow suffering humanity.



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