"The Choice is Yours"
(Looking ahead to the future)
by Canon David Staples
SAVE IT. Drought and water shortage bring home veryclearly that there is a problem of natural resources in this country. Those who expect. to turn a tap on and have water in abundance will get a shock if supplies are restricted or cut off. Two things are needed to avert. the crisis - the responsible use of water and the replenishment of the reservoirs.
SAVE IT. There is also in this country a crisis of spiritual resources. There are those who expect religion to be there when they need it - an instant faith in times of difficulty, and the Church (by which is often meant a Vicar) readily on tap when demanded. But the Church can only offer what resources people give it to provide. Two things are needed - the responsible use of what we have and the replenishment of our resources.
SAVE IT by the responsible use of what we have. As individuals we need to nourish the faith that is in us, giving God the chance to work in us by his means of grace. As the Church we need to ask whether the gifts of all Christian people, ordained or lay, are
being used as fully and as effectively as they might be to complement each other in mission and ministry?
SAVE IT by the replenishment of our resources. A mature faith cannot be conjured out of thin air just when required. We
need constant. renewal by Word, Prayer and Sacrament. This will establish the roots of our faith and help us to grow. Similarly our country as a whole can only live off the accumulated spiritual capital of former years of faith for so long. The story of the inept tree surgeon comes to mind. He sits on the branch and starts his cut between himself and the trunk. The toleration of the increasing marginalisation of the deprived in our society, the aggressive individualism which strikes at the heart of community, the materialism which knows cost but not value, the breakdown of personal and family values with the pain that these can bring, the erection of defensive walls rather than cooperative bridges - how far are these the signs that this country has drained spiritual resources to the dregs without doing much to replenish them?
SAVE IT. All members of the Church, by which 1 mean all who have been baptised into membership, and that still means
many of the population of this country, are challenged by the question once asked by the former President Jimmy Carter: ―If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you? On the answer to that question depends a very great deal for our future. The response of Manchester to the evil of the recent massacre of the innocents in the name of a perverted ideology gives rise to some hope of something on which to build. Perhaps extra moments of leisure during the summer holidays will give you time to reflect on it.