if we hadn’t already received enough treats over Christmas, we all like a visit
to the High Street sales in the week leading up to New Year. My bargain was a
half price copy of the actor, Sir Michael Caine’s biography, curiously
entitled, “Blowing the b***** Doors Off: and other Lessons in Life.” (This
being a nice polite journal I’ll leave you to fill in the asterisks if you want
to! Hodder & Stoughton, Caine’s publisher, was obviously less coy. There
was a time when that would have been truly shocking!)
title is a quotation from one of Michael Caine’s best known films, “The Italian
Job,” which ends with the gang of robbers in a coach hanging precariously over
the edge of a cliff on a mountain road. They all rush to the back of the
vehicle as a counterweight. One false move and they’re done for!
of which must be what it feels like to be in Parliament at the moment. Everyone
wants to avoid a cliff edge but equally no one can agree how to do so. Whatever
our own personal views the Prime Minister certainly needs our prayers. The
Scriptures positively enjoin it!
have avoided preaching about Brexit. It is a very divisive subject, more so
than normal party politics as the stress lines are completely different which
makes it harder to predict who believes what. Nevertheless, it is an area
where, as Christians, we should be trying to use what we believe as a basis for
our view taking and our decision making. The question, “What would Jesus do?”
is the test of any course of action for us all.
of a further referendum, few of us are likely to be making any meaningful
decisions on this subject at all. But I do offer a couple of general
observations which might help separate the wood from the trees.
times have changed and there is no going back, only going forward. Some of us
may bemoan, for example, the appearance of expletives in book titles, but that
shift has taken place whether we like it or not. There is no golden age to
return to – a great deal of sin and hypocrisy was swept under the carpet then
anyway – but we can lend a hand in shaping a positive future according to the
opportunities we are given.
in an increasingly complex and globalised world (another change we cannot
reverse) I would have thought it behoved the human race to seek as much
cooperation between cultures and nations as possible, which is why the EU was
founded in the first place. We forget our history at our peril.
we are tempted to get bogged down in detail, or to doubt the integrity of those
with different views to our own, we all need to grasp the bigger picture. What
is it that we are trying to achieve, what greater good are we aiming for, and
how can we best do this, together?
Caine’s book was a little different to what I expected. Instead of an exact
chronological story of his life, it was a reflection on the lessons of life
learned in his 85 years so far, drawing on examples from his life. One of the
techniques he had learned was to, “use the difficulty.” Whenever he suffered
setbacks he looked for something positive about the situation that he could use
to overcome them. Indeed, it feels like it is his positive approach to life in
general that has brought him both success and joy alike.
St Andrew’s story stretches back nearly 140 years. The challenges we face today
simply form the latest chapter. How can we use the difficulty and remain
positive so that we can fulfil our fundamental aim to proclaim God’s Kingdom –
the biggest picture of all – to the community we serve?