Church of England Diocese of Hereford Billingsley

Thought for the week, 18th October; Holding Paradoxes.

The news from Covid is not good; we are slipping back and are already seeing a second wave. As I write this, the Welsh Assembly are proposing a second lockdown across the whole principality and it is possible that we may eventually follow them. Then there is Brexit and the saga of a trading deal…. It is difficult to escape the gloom and foreboding that is on the television, the radio and in the papers. Perhaps we should not even try to do this; “bad times are just around the corner”, as Noel Coward sang and sooner or later we are going to have to unpack our troubles from our old kit bag and grimace.

The Autumn colours are very fine. Even in the drizzle of a Friday afternoon, I admired them. And today, I slipped into Billingsley Church and was struck by the sunlight streaming in through the window, picking out the poppy display on the altar. The light in Billingsley church is a joy, particularly since one of our congregation cleaned the windows. What a wonderful world!

Of course, both sets of emotions are true and we need to hold them together, even if they seem to clash. Life is nuanced, full of contradictions and there is nothing new in this; it is a major theme in the Bible. In the Old Testament in particular, the people of Israel struggled to understand God’s purpose in their world. This can be seen especially in the Psalms, especially the “psalms of lament”. These do not hide from the dark side of life; they are often angry at the events which happen to innocent people. But they balance this with a trust that, however bad things are, God has not abandoned them; his loving-kindness endures for ever. There is a lesson for us. We should not ignore the darkness, we should recognise and rage against it. But at the same time, we draw hope that God is with us; darkness will never have the final word.