Bishop of Grantham's letter for August 2016
I hope you will understand when I say that I have been really unsure as to what to write in this letter for August. A number of drafts have ended up ‘on the floor’. How to write something that is appropriate for our times – when the times seem to be so fast moving? Every time I get some words down on paper, something big seems to happen in the world, the latest being the arrival of a new Prime Minister.
In the face of such upheaval, what are we to do and to say? Well, I am going to say in this letter what I have been saying to people as I have met them face to face over the past few weeks, and what I usually ask people in more normal times as well: ‘How are you?’
This is a genuine question. I really am interested in the answer. If we can do nothing else in a highly-charged, confusing, fast-moving context, in which emotions are all over the place and hopes and fears are clashing pretty equally, on different subjects, I can at least enquire about how people are feeling, and listen to them: ‘How are you?’
People matter. Everyone. We are all God’s children. We are all flesh and blood with feelings, aspirations and anxieties. My faith tells me this. My understanding and following of Jesus tells me this.
So: ‘How are you?’ However you are, whatever you are feeling at this complicated time, please know that you are loved by God. Please also know that my fellow bishops and I are concerned for you and for the people who are on your heart.
Sometimes it is difficult to express this concern in ways that really connect – time is limited and I am all too aware of the people for whom I have care and for whom I don’t think I have demonstrated that care in action very well. These people and situations become a matter for my prayer and my sorrow.
+ Bishop Nicholas
But, in common with everyone, having made my confession I then need to return to the practical opportunities that I do have to put my care into action.
So, during this complicated summer, know that you matter, and join with me, please, in putting care into action. And do feel free to reply to my question, if you choose!
May God bless you, and may you have a very good August.