HALO RATHER THAN HELLO
Canon David Staples looks forward to
All Saints tide on November 1st
You will be relieved! I have decided not to comment on the current love life of “personalities” or football players. Such is the stuff on which the tabloid press thrives, and this is only a Parish Newsletter.
There are, of course, distinct advantages to not being a personality. Thank God! You cannot be manipulated by the media. You cannot be deceived into believing that you are more important than you really are. Nor can you be discarded in favour of a new personality. You can even avoid that fate worse than death - the adulation of the readers of “Hello”. You can simply be you. It must be very difficult living in the tension between public image and yourself as you really are. This can even be a temptation for some clergy. That image may expose your private life or vilify you in the interests of salacious or vitriolic comment. It can replace you as you are with a fairy story fantasy because that is thought to be what people want to be told about you - all good for sales and market share but destructive of people, whether they collude or not. Even praise and favourable comment can be corrupting.
So let people be themselves. When I sit quietly in church I think about all those holy and humble people who have come there over the centuries. Few were “personalities”. They were people who brought with them their fears and failings for comfort and forgiveness. They brought their joys in thankfulness to God and their sorrows for his consolation. They were searching for something to give meaning to their everyday lives. Perhaps it was they who really made history and not those whose names are remembered in the books. Few would now appear in “Hello”. But their names are all written in the Book of Life. All were called to be saints, as we all are, and they tried, by God’s grace, to fulfill that calling.
We remember them at All Saints Tide. (November lst/2nd). In the prayer of intercession in the Prayer Book as proposed in 1928 (rejected by Parliament, but thereafter much used by the Church!) there is the prayer: “And here we give thee most high praise and hearty thanks for all thy saints, who have been the chosen vessels of thy grace, and lights of the world in their several generations. and we pray, that rejoicing in their fellowship, and following their good examples. we may be partakers with them of thy heavenly Kingdom.” The Christian calling is a high calling. No less than the grace of God is required to fulfill it. It is our calling as well as it was theirs.. To God they were, each one, not ordinary at all but very special To God they were, each one, not ordinary at all but very special
There have been many examples of this in the caring for others duiring these very difficult times.
Canon David Staples