- November - From
We are now very much into Autumn as we follow the familiar pattern of
leaves changing colour, leaves falling, conkers in our garden maybe.
The grass is no longer growing and the days are getting shorter, as
summer seems further away now. All quite predictable things really and
I must admit to liking the Autumn. Whatever the season and whatever
the weather is like, good or bad, depending on our interpretation of
what we think good or bad weather is; the changing seasons and the weather
are beyond our control. Well more or less anyway, bearing in mind climate
change and our responsibility to the environment.
Similarly events of the seasonal calendar are beyond our control. All
Saints/All Souls, which we’ve just had, happen each year, however
much we engage or don’t with them. Remembrance Day/Sunday is similarly
an annual feature and in many ways is getting bigger and these give
way to Advent and Christmas.
There are other things in life which also happen and have a degree of
predictability about them. Maybe things we wish we could have more influence
on, like having to pay the mortgage, going to work, paying the bills.
Illness can afflict us, pain and hurt and in some cases the latter is
somewhere more within our grasp to influence and deter. For we are people
that can make a difference, both in our lives and in others, for good
And which do we prefer? Well the good surely? As human beings we have
a basic understanding of what is right and what is wrong and there is
great potential in all of us to go to one or the other. Most of us in
varying degrees are a mixture of the two, as we live out good and bad
in our lives. As much as we might try to live well and do the right
things, either by faith or by basic human nature, we are all subject
to failure. Perhaps we hurt others. Perhaps we hurt ourselves by the
way we live, think and consume. So should we be resigned to this, accepting
that this is all part of human nature? Just like we accept the pattern
of the year; the weather, the seasons, the events?
We can’t help the way we are? (Example) ‘I’m a stubborn
or miserable old bugger and nothings gonna change me!’ It’s
just inevitable that I, she or he will carry on this way in life, stuck
in a rut?
Well no we shouldn’t accept it and it shouldn’t be predictable
that we will always be like that. If we are aware of our shortcomings,
both inside and out, we can make a choice to address these things and
challenge any sense that it just happens. It’s just the way it
is. For we can live a better way if we knock on the door of inner selves
and look our sinfulness and failings in the face. It’s painful
confronting where we are going wrong and what is wrong about us. But
we don’t do this alone, for God is with us and the more we get
to know God the more we will see the right life choices. Choices that
will give us a greater freedom than the freedom we had to make bad choices.
A freedom that means that we don’t live just for ourselves anymore,
but we live for the good of others, loving our friends, neighbours,
strangers and even enemies, in order to create a better world and not
accept a less than good world.
This requires effort and the change we want to bring about, starting
with ourselves, might seem too much of a challenge. It means we are
striving for purity of heart and that’s a real battle with the
side of us that takes us away from God. But struggles can be won and
God gives us direction and the clarity to see the target we need to
The Christian Desert Fathers of the Egyptian and Syrian deserts used
to compare purity of heart to the target that the javelin thrower aimed
at in the ancient games; a small target may be difficult to hit but
it can be done and the effort required draws out the best from the thrower.
So let’s look for that target that God wants us to see. The target
to a better way, that brings out the best in us.
Fr Carl Peters
The Clergy House
Tel: 0191 680 3875
Other Contact Telephone Numbers
Churchwarden - David 0191 3789718
P.C.C. secretary - Carolyn – 0191 6803875
Brancepeth, St. Catherine's
Reader – Liz – 0191 3731554,
Churchwarden - Joe - 0191 3739927