Monthly letter from the Clergy
This months letter is from our Rector Revd. Jenny Gray
Unicorns, wizards, dragons and vampires in books, films, games and toys, appeal to all ages. The ‘Lord of the rings’ and ‘Narnia’ books are best sellers alongside JK Rowling and Philip Pullman. The Supernatural is big business. ‘Game of Thrones’ gets in the News. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ just set a box-office record. Science Fiction fantasies and myths are popular, escapist entertainment in our scientific, sceptical age - and maybe, maybe something more.
Stories are good to think with. They draw on basic truths. Science Fiction fantasies show us where current environmental and ethical issues like global warming, genetic engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Euthanasia etc could lead...A window on what the future could be like for people on earth or on stars, planets and galaxies in Space...Apocalyptic nightmares and Utopian dreams. Imaginary heroes, villains and ordinary people like us make choices that affect others, often with fantastic Super Powers to save or destroy. Unseen, cosmic forces intervene for good or evil. In ‘Star Wars’: ‘The Force is with you.’ In ‘Transformers’: There’s ‘More than meets the eye’. Both apply to religious belief.
Religion says there’s ‘More than meets the eye.’ That life is complex and mysterious. That people have souls, a spiritual side we can’t see or measure. That things happen which we can’t yet or never will understand, however advanced our knowledge and thinking compared to our predecessors, because we are created beings not the Creator, Harry Potter not JK Rowling! Like Science Fiction fantasies, religion says we have choices that affect others. We can make a difference for good or bad. We can tap into energies we can’t control, see or rationally explain...the ‘Force’ Christians call God, Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ life and teaching, death and resurrection says ‘the Force is with you’ – the cosmic Force of God’s love....indestructible, life-giving, evil-defeating, love. Jesus’ miracles, birth at Bethlehem, death and rising to new life at Easter reveal the Super Power of God’s love. When people take Jesus’ story seriously, when we trust God’s life Force, his Holy Spirit energises and equips us to face the mess, frustration, pain, burden and loss of life. Science Fiction fantasies and myths entertain and warn. Faith changes lives. Because God’s Super Power is available to us all.
Compared to ‘X Men’ fantasy heroes, God’s Super Power may seem tame ....but don’t underestimate the difference love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, patience, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness and self control make to families, communities and our world. God’s Super Power is slow growing not instant, incomplete not total – the Christian faith is not entertaining fantasy escapism. God doesn’t promise an easy, pain free life, a quick win over evil for Jesus or for us. But there is More than meets the eye.’ With all our questions, hesitations and limitations, the Jesus story makes sense of life’s joys and suffering...provides real hope and meaning.
So may ‘the Force’ be with you