My dear friends,
As we move now into the season of autumn and parochial activities step into full stride, our prayer must be that all we do within the life of the Church - in whatever mode - will be done with grace, patience, unselfish love and with the firm sense that we are serving God as we serve those around us.
We must also pray unremittingly for peace in this world, peace near at hand and peace far off. God created us in love.. for love.. and to love. We live in a world which, although created by God as a backdrop for harmony, truth and love, is in so many places a battleground for hatred and destruction – the devastation of people and the demolition of the created order itself. There is a saying from the Jewish Talmud, the second part of which is familiar, although the first clause (less quoted) is equally apt, I believe, for all of us - “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he had destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he had saved an entire world”. We may begin small and within our own local setting, but God can magnify our human efforts in his grace, so that the world itself may be changed.
The “Archbishop’s Road Shows” will be held - as has by now become customary - in November, and this year over two weeks. I have chosen as a title for these roadshows, The Christian Backpack. Christian discipleship has of course many different elements and obligations, but I am choosing four (inter-connected) features of discipleship which I believe we should all be “carrying” with us all the time. In the first of the weeks, I will be thinking aloud about “faith” and “hope”. In the second week, the themes will be “truth” and “love”. We are all familiar with St Paul’s trio of “faith, hope and love” in the First Letter to the Corinthians, but both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures have much to say about truth as well..
Each of the evenings will begin at 8.00pm. On Tuesdays 7th and 14th November, the meetings will be in Drumglass Parish Hall, on Wednesdays 8th and 15th in Mullabrack Parish Hall, and on Thursdays 9th and 16th in Derryloran Parish Centre. (Please note some changes in the arrangements this year.)