We are not all adrift on a sea of pitiless indifference

MURDERED Father Jacques Hamel
MURDERED Father Jacques Hamel
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Our world seems dark and dangerous at the moment. The Times newspaper summed it up in a cartoon where the news was presented by the figure of Death.

Recently, almost every day has brought a fresh atrocity or cause for anxiety.

As a vicar, the brutal murder of Father Jacques Hamel, the 86-year-old retired priest killed during morning Mass, has hit very close to home.

How do we live in times like these?

It’s easy to feel anxious. It’s easy to feel angry at those we think are the source of the problem. Is there a better way than either of these?

Recently, BBC4 had a documentary about a remarkable woman from the 14th century: Julian of Norwich. Julian lived through difficult times: the Peasant’s Revolt, the Hundred Years War and three sieges of the Black Death.

She became ill herself; no-one expected her to live. Yet as she lay at death’s door, she had an extraordinary encounter with God. Recovering, she wrote it down in a book called Revelations of Divine Love – the first book in English written by a woman.

One of the themes of Julian’s book addresses our question: how do we live in times like these?

Recognising the pain of her times, Julian heard this reply from heaven:

“Yet all shall be well

and all shall be well

and all manner of things shall be well.”

Through the years, countless people have found hope and comfort in these words.

They are not a denial of the challenges of our time. Nor do they pretend our pain and anxiety aren’t real.

Instead, they invite us to look beyond, to a God who never lets us go, no matter how bad things may get.

How do we live in times like these?

If we can remember that God never lets go – we are not adrift on a sea of blind, pitiless indifference – we can trust that these times won’t last forever.

We find that God is with us and wants to help us – if we’ll let him. We discover that, through it all, we are never alone.

n Holy Rood Church, Gosport Road, Stubbington, PO14 2AS

n St Edmund’s Church, Lychgate Green, Stubbington, PO14 3HA

n Contact details for both churches: Parish office (01329 661154 or office@croftonparish.org.uk)

Website: croftonparish.org.uk