Dear Friends

The problem is, once the horse called “Self-centred” has bolted out of the stable in search of freedom, how on earth do you get it back? Adult self-centredness is, according to those who deal with young people on a regular basis, one of the main reasons why the next generation runs amok, and if we are honest, even in our villages, we do see a few even on our streets at an evening hour most would want to be tucked up in bed, or at least watching the back end of the film. Ironically, it’s often new parenthood that jolts us out of self-centredness. It’s hard to ignore a baby crying for its milk at 4am. Yes, yes, I know that YOU would do anything for your family if they needed you but clearly some haven’t, or the report wouldn’t have been written. The importance of family life needs to be shouted again and again till people hear it and take it seriously. The marriage service puts it brilliantly: “The gift of marriage… is given as the foundation of family life in which children are nurtured and in which each member of the family, in good times and in bad, may find strength, companionship and comfort, and grow to maturity in love.” Whatever you feel about marriage, that’s the best description of family life I’ve ever heard and it doesn’t matter whether you have children or not. Why do Christians go on about self-centredness? Are they just trying to make us feel guilty? No, tt’s because self-centredness, (they say on good authority) is at the heart of the world’s problems and for that matter always has been. When one’s whole world satellites illegitimately around oneself there’s bound to be distortion of reality. Incidentally, that’s what the not–too popular word, “sin” means. Which letter is in the middle of that little word? I fear the horse will never be put back. Despite the all-too-apparent consequences of following your own personal yellow brick road, sin exerts a jolly strong influence. Having written church out of society’s script, what is the yardstick by which society can measure right and wrong? If it isn’t going to be God, or Jesus or the Bible, then maybe it’s going to be the soaps on TV. Or natural instinct? Other peoples’ views? All a bit dodgy. And do we cover our own backs and seek our own good because we don’t think anyone else will do it for us, someone we once inherently trusted called “God”? “Lent” is a five week run up to Easter during which we deal with this self thing in our lives, putting the bridle back on the horse. It’s giving God back the reins of our lives. Our Lent talks are based on a book by an American, John Ortberg, called “God is closer that you think”. Anyone can come. I’ll even give you a lift. Like horses, and young people, we may find ourselves happier when someone who knows has his hands on the reins of our lives. Lots of Lenten love, Revd. BSA