Letter from the Vicar
It has taken a drama following on from a Panorama investigation and supportive journalists and politicians pressing for truth and justice to finally begin the process of exoneration and compensation for hundreds of former postmasters and postmistresses who were falsely accused, charged and some, imprisoned as a result of The Post Office Scandal. Many lives have been ruined as a result and it has become clear that there are truths to emerge from the Public Enquiry as to who knew what and how things were covered up that could have prevented prosecutions, bankruptcies, loss of careers and livelihoods, and reputations.
On Valentine’s Day the Christian Church begins the six week observance of the Season of Lent, a time of spiritual penance, reflection and building of relationship with God. At the heart is the ability and need to say sorry to God for our shortcomings, willfulness, selfishness and feelings at times that we are above reproach. Lent isn’t to make us feel guilty, failures, hopeless, wretched or beyond redemption, but shows us how God’s love is so deep, strong and unconditional for us, that he wants us to recognise and put right the things that hold us back and lock us into guilt, regret, anger and inability to acknowledge where we fall short.
The beginning of the journey to peace, restoration, reconciliation, forgiveness and understanding begins when we recognise the need to admit wrongdoing and say sorry. That is very hard though when pride kicks in, or we feel or believe that we can do no wrong, or that it was somebody else’s fault, or as with the Horizon computer, nothing possibly could go wrong.
How much time, money, effort and determination went into perpetuating something that has become a scandal will be determined through investigation and people will be called to face justice if they are found to have lied or covered up the truth. We can wonder how things might have turned out, and people’s lives not ruined, if some had had the courage to recognise that the IT was not perfect, or Institutions, businesses, or individuals had not thought about their reputation, position or status first, rather than the importance of truth and justice.
Lent and the opportunity to run a spiritual MOT on our lives, relationships, soul and actions allows us to be honest with God and ourselves that we are not perfect and to say sorry to God with open and contrite hearts, approaching God not with fear but belief that his love is merciful. He desires what we do not allow our sins, regrets, pain or brokenness to ruin our lives and to find forgiveness, healing and the opportunity to move forward with confidence in lives, that can and will flourish in relationships and dealings with others that are honest, truthful, just, compassionate and loving.
“I am sorry and I confess….” Try saying it during Lent.