Farewell Jonathan Sacks

I was distressed to read of the death of the former Chief Rabbi.

He inspired my understanding of the Old Testament and taught me to treat those books as the Hebrew Scriptures.

He also addressed the needs of the country through the experience of being a Jew in post-war Europe. His death in the season of Remembrance is poignant.

Some quotations from his Reith Lectures sum up the man. He never moved form these generous insights

‘God has created many different paths for faith to find him but only one world to live on’

‘After Babel, there is no one universal language which alone comprehends God, such that those who do not speak it are excluded from salvation, redemption or truth’.

The influence of religions lie only in the force of their example, the cogency of their teachings and the spiritual beauty of the lives they inspire’

Religions must maintain a critical distance from the values of the age’.

He defended the importance of Religion in a time when Spirituality seems more important.

Locked-in landscapes

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Why is it that when I am told I cannot travel that I long to travel?

Why is it that having been told that I cannot enter Wales I long to be walking in the Brecon Beacons?

What strange obstinacy has arisen in me that the more I self-isolate the more I must walk familiar landscapes?

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A COVID-19 Question

Just what are we worth?

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Colin Morris died 20 May 2018. He was a Methodist minister who lived and proclaimed the Gospel with a distinctive voice and at times controversial views.Through broadcasting  he continued the Soper Tradition within Methodism of speaking truth to the power for the future good of society. The following comes from a broadcast in 1990 about the significance of being made in the Image of God:

 I am not a naked ape or a handful of dust or an evolutionary accident;

I am not a speck on a cinder floating in outer space,

nor a fifteen-digit number on a computer card.

Now are we children of God, says the New Testament writer John,

and it doesn’t yet appear what we shall be.

What about that for an open future?

It’s worth remembering those words in moments

of aloneness, despair and self-doubt.

The image of God, conformed into the likeness of Christ;

that is our cosmic dignity and our destiny.

And it’s ours for the asking.     

For me it is far too early to draw many conclusions from the experience of COVID-19. However it makes me wonder who we believe ourselves to be. Once we lose our significance society may come to believe that we have no value and so might we. Morris is  exploring the question: just what are we worth?

The talks were later published in one of his books Starting from Scratch published by Epworth.