Vicar's Letter

‘From the Vicarage’ March 2023

How bizarre, how bizarre! That was a song from the New Zealand pop band OMC back in 1995. There are moments in life that can be surreally bizarre, just like the incident that took place at vicarage this morning. When Becky put my clergy shirts in the wash, she discovered a note in the pocket with a female’s name and mobile phone number. In some households this could have been the touchpaper for a marital Spanish Inquisition. At the vicarage it was the cause for some consternation for another reason – I had no idea who the person was or why I had their number. So it was a slightly embarrassed vicar who reached for the phone to dial the number and find out who and what he had forgotten. Well God is good as ever, and I hadn’t forgotten anything too important…it was the emergency contact number for Holtwood Methodist church where we held our Parish Vision Day a few weeks ago. I was able through our shared laughter to confess to the lovely lady at Holtwood my lack of memory retention.

It was certainly one of those bizarre moments that pepper life with such richness and colour. The word bizarre is thought to derive from the Basque word bizar which means beard, and the story goes that the word came into being because the bearded Spanish soldiers made such a strange impression on the French… (enough said!). If you think about it life is bizarre and beautiful in equal measure, from life’s first cry to final breath, in the words of the evocative worship song ‘In Christ alone’. God’s creation (of which we are just one small part) is that complex of the bizarre which is beyond our understanding and the most beautiful. We have seen that contrast so vividly in the last few days as our natural world turned from beauty to terror in the devastating earthquake in Turkey and north Syria.

The most bizarre and beautiful thing of all though is love. How can we explain that Almighty God could love our insignificant selves enough to send Godself in the form of a human to assure us of that love? How can we logically find meaning in the story of Good Friday and a love so strong that it could preclude all thought of self and be self-giving on a cross? How can we try and justify with science and rationality that God’s love can be so powerful that it could break the bonds of death. We can’t and that’s the point. Love is bizarre and beautiful.

With love and prayers

God Bless


The Revd Andy Muckle

From_the_Vicarage_March_2023, PDF