Church of England Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham Arnold

God's Values

22 Aug 2020, noon

Vicar Margaret Caunt Writes

Vicar Margaret Caunt Writes

Well September is here, and we are still living within the restrictions of a worldwide pandemic that as we look, seems to bring out the good and bad in everything around us. It has certainly highlighted dark cracks in the fabric of society, that have been too long overlooked or ignored. Now I may be showing my age here, but to follow the words of an old ‘Kinks’ song, it seems to me, that we are living in a confusing ‘mixed up, shook up, world’. A world that, as a Christian, I believe needs help to rediscover the values and love of God our creator to find its way.

It has been said that in the West we spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t want, in order to impress people, we don’t like. Although we laugh at the accuracy of this, it should really make us cry. Because this is a circle of dissatisfaction that ends up leaving us with lots to live with but little to live for. Jesus knew the spiritual shipwrecks that occur when greed takes over a life or a society. And so, in Luke 12. 13-21, he tells his followers to be on their guard, and to bring the point home he tells them a parable, about a man. A man who stored up his riches in barns of ever- increasing size, sure in the knowledge that, with all he had accumulated he could take life easy, please himself, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him,’ you fool this very night your life will be demanded of you, who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

Jesus often taught with parables. Sometimes they can infuriate because, they don’t always make easy sense. But this is the point. They were not intended to make easy sense, but to make us, or rather remake us, by way of an often puzzling but resonant story, that configures the heart by way of the mind. His parable of the man building more and more storage for yet more stuff is eerily relevant for our world today. And It ends by asking us what it means to be’ rich towards God’

All the things that matter most in life, love, relationship, trust, wisdom, justice, these increase as you share them. If others win, so do I. Unlike wealth, power, and selfish actions, where if you win I loose. The qualities of God’s kingdom, the things that matter most, allow us to relate more deeply to God, ourselves, other people, and the planet. And all these qualities are all so rich that, both the giver and receiver benefit in an exchange of sacred significance. To live within this economy, within these values, teaches Jesus, is to live as a citizen of God’skingdom and not just as a consumer or user of the world.

It’s easy to watch the news, see the mess and to blame others. But we all need to look at ourselves and with God’s help and direction become the best that we can be. It is clear that attitudes and values, in the world need to change, lots of things that have been mixed up, do need to be shook up, and reconfigured to align themselves with God’s values, God’s wisdom and God’s love. Changing the world, changing society, starts with changing one heart at a time, that is what Jesus did, and what he continues, to do. May I and you, allow him to start with us.

I believe that the current terribly bad Pandemic might actually, become, a catalyst for long overdue changes. Changes that will eventually bring about a lot of good. I believe that God is good, that is his character and nature and that never changes. I believe that God our  creator is always creating and that too never changes. I believe that God is always at work for good, bringing out something good, something new, something of lifegiving worth, in even the worst of situations that unfold in life.

So, let us as people of faith, continue to keep our eyes fixed on him. Let us continue to pray, for the world that God and in his love created. And let us pray that the values that matter most in life, will continue to be increased in and through all those who share them with others.

Blessing and peace,

Vicar Margaret.