Miracles of Grace, by Archdeacon Robert

There’s a challenge in writing parish magazine articles which have to be prepared a month in advance! What might be happening then? In these strange days it is even harder to know what to write. I don’t think any of us believed we would see warfare in Europe. So much has changed, not least our own sense of security or threat.

So perhaps in such changing and challenging times, it is worthwhile asking the question; what hasn’t changed and what remains constant? There’s clearly a Christian dimension to this: we believe that God is God, as it says in the Bible “the same yesterday, today and for ever”. God is constant.

We also believe that Christ entered into the whole human experience, including our suffering, and walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death. Christ is present. To quote a prayer of Pope Francis, using the Jesus Prayer of the Orthodox Church:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.
Lord Jesus, born in the shadows of the bombs falling on Kyiv, have mercy on us.
Lord Jesus, a twenty-year old sent to the frontlines, have mercy on us.

It’s worth remembering that everything Jesus taught, did and lived through was in a country, his own country, which was under foreign military rule. He was no stranger to conflict.

There is a wider human experience too. In tough times there are people who do not give up on living and loving. In tough times there are people who make brave choices to do what is right, good and just. Kindness abounds in the darkest places: people fall in love, children are born, neighbours look out for those around them.

There is an essential human goodness which abides. A commentator once wrote that it wasn’t the presence of evil which surprised him. Rather: “I am surprised by the problem of good. Why is there good in the world? Given where we came from and the world in which we live, why is there love? Why is their self-sacrifice? These are miracles of grace.”

What hasn’t changed and what remains constant? It is those miracles of grace: let’s look out for them.

The Venerable Robert Jones
The Archdeacon of Worcester

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