Holding it all together

The Venerable Edward Dowler, Archdeacon of Hastings
The Venerable Edward Dowler, Archdeacon of Hastings

One of the collects (concluding prayers) for the night service of Compline in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer goes like this:

One of the collects (concluding prayers) for the night service of Compline in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer goes like this:

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we, who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It’s a wonderful prayer for saying or thinking before you go to sleep at night, or indeed in any situation of difficulty and confusion.

Perhaps it has a special relevance for us today because many things indicate that, in this country and around the world, we are living in a time of political instability.

Even more so, perhaps, than we have known for the past thirty or forty years.

There seem to be many ‘changes and chances’ to life in the twenty-first Century: things that are completely beyond our control but which may have a considerable impact on our lives.

The prayer is also a little lesson in Philosophy and Christian theology.

It expresses the idea that we humans are what philosophers call ‘contingent’ beings.

Even under the most stable governments, all human lives are uncertain and changeable.

Life often goes in directions we do not expect and, of course, always ends in death.

By contrast, the prayer speaks of God’s ‘eternal changelessness’.

Christians would say that this changelessness lies at the basis of all that God has made.

Changeless in himself, God has created the universe and continues to hold it in being.

However, Christians go on to say something more than this: in Jesus, God himself, the eternal and changeless one has voluntarily entered into our world of change.

He has endured all that life in the contingent world throws at him – and us.

And, through his resurrection, ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit, he has moved to restore it all to the God who created it in the first place and who holds it all together.

Faith Matters News:

Peace and Reconciliation Explored at Chichester Cathedral

Join us for our next Hot Topic talk: ‘Antisemitism Beyond the Headlines’

10.30am -12pm, Wednesday 18th July, 4 Canon Lane with Rabbi Dr Andrea Zanardo of Brighton & Hove Reform Synagogue, giving a personal view on the development of antisemitism and what can be done to challenge antisemitism in the world today.

Tickets £7.50, including refreshments. Booking in advance is essential - please see the Cathedral website for booking online or visit the Chichester Box Office, www.thenovium.org or 01243 816525.

The 2018 Hot Topic series consists of four talks connected by the theme of Peace and Reconciliation. Hot Topics are introduced and chaired by the Cathedral Chancellor, the Revd Canon Dr Anthony Cane.

Campaign Against Modern Slavery:

Anti-slavery campaigners and other key agencies, including the police and councils, are backing the Safe Car Wash App, launched by The Clewer Initiative , the Church of England’s campaign against modern slavery, and the Santa Marta Group, the Catholic Church’s anti-slavery project.

A Safe Car Wash app can be downloaded for free on to Apple and Android devices. Users can open the app when they are at the car wash and pinpoint their exact location using GPS. They will be then taken through a series of indicators of modern slavery. They range from practical details - such as whether workers have suitable protective clothing - to behavioural clues, such as whether they appear withdrawn. If the answers indicate a high likelihood, users will be directed to the Modern Slavery Helpline. Data from the app will be anonymised and shared with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

Jail Break - Musical in the West of the Diocese

All Saints Church, Wick, Littlehampton is putting on a Roger Jones musical, Jail Break, in collaboration with other local churches. This exciting evening of music recounts the Bible story of Paul in the Philippian jail. The performances are on the 13th, 14th and 15th July and more information and ticket booking is available online at: www.allsaintswick.org.uk/JailBreak