(Wrote this late last night- and I still think it this morning so I share with you).
Today I changed a little bit of postcard artwork in my house. It now has an amusing vicar card on it with a greeting from a friend. I have a card on that particular door because underneath it bears the fist mark of my frustration. A mere six hours before I reached resolution on a really tough moment in my curacy, I lost it. At the door.
When I move I will offer recompense for the damage- or perhaps suggest that they keep it in that state as a warning to future curates.
Why am I telling you this? Well fighting inanimate things is somewhat of an occupational hazard in the church. I listened today to an interview with Justin Welby where he again and again was trying to say that there are issues more important than the ones we tie ourselves in knots about.
I listened to that interview on the way home from the gym- pulling up on the drive to find the used needle van parked up. As I came into the porch, the door caught on the glass recycling box, including a mostly empty methadone scrip I had picked up from a ginnel yesterday.
As I had driven to the gym this morning I turned the radio off from a discussion about unequal abortion laws in the UK. When I got back, I read an article that some friends had tweeted about the horrible effects of porn on our children; leading many girls to think it was a usual thing to send intimate pictures of yourself as a chat up line. I read that just after lending support to a campaign to get the church active in supporting adoptive families (because there are over 70,000 children in this country awaiting adoption).
It is too easy to get caught into sweating the small stuff in this job. I can do it with the best of them (I wonder if I am the only pioneer facing a church split over buying a new organ!)
But I am challenged today about what I should really fight about. Because I live in a community and in a country where children don’t have enough to eat, and where that is spun as the fault of reckless parents. Its a country where children are exposed to horrific images of what sexual union should be. They act on that information for acceptance and approval. They are exploited and exposed. And they think it is normal.
I live in a country where a town full of children don’t have a family home, while we mainly expect fertility treatment as a right. I live in a country where party politics is pandering to the right and the old, because they are the ones who go out and vote. I live in a country where the richest have no clue what it is like to have nothing, leaving space for the peddlers of fear to dominate the debate.
And so these are the things for which I will fight. (forgive the Boothian overtones to what follows) I will fight so that this country is known to be a place that looks after and honours its most vulnerable- all of them, not just the ones that vote. I will fight so that this country is prepared to mute its adults lusts in order that a generation is not exploited any more. And I will fight to see a sense of restoration and freedom and hope for those for whom it may feel like it is too late. I will fight so that children have enough to eat, so they can grow up trusting in the goodness of the world and of the God who made it.
I will fight, in this crazy country where we unearth Kings in carparks, to see us unearth once again a kingdom which is about justice and rightness and about mercy. I will fight to see those who struggle and mourn become those who champion the rights of the poor, who bring new life to our ailing cities.
And I will fight to not sweat the small stuff. I will fight in love, for most of God’s restoration comes through simple expressive acts of love. And I will fight first in prayer- trusting that this fight is God’s fight.
Show me Lord how to fight.