Friday, October 28, 2005
A lost cause?
Today the church celebrates Simon and Jude, Apostles…
Jude is traditionally the patron of hopeless causes, - and as such is a pretty popular guy in the curate's house. But it was only this morning, when setting up for the early Eucharist, that I discovered why. Apparently, because of the similarity of his name with that of Judas Iscariot, no-one much valued his intercessory abilities, so they would only ask for his help when all else had failed. Obvious when you know the story….but it does seem a tad unfair. Just because someone whose name is almost the same as yours turns out to be a really Bad Egg, you get lumbered for centuries with desperate requests for help with the impossible (and I suspect receive minimal thanks if a cause presumed lost suddenly prospers). And Thomas Hardy won’t have improved matters either. Jude the Obscure is by no means a celebration of life in all its fulness!
Poor St Jude…
No, I don’t tend to invoke the saints much…but I have always enjoyed the thought that there is a saint concerned with every aspect of life. Here’s part of something I wrote for the parish mag in celebration of All Saints tide.
Not for the first time, I rejoice that Christianity is a faith based on relationships…with our fellow Christians, as well as with the God who exists in eternal relationship as Father, Son and Spirit. For good or ill, we are each of us shaped by the relationships of our lives, and these can include relationships outside time, with people long dead, whose influence continues through the centuries. November, with its celebrations of All Saints and All Souls, is a good time to consider this. When I feel as if I’ve opened my mouth and put my foot in it again, it’s good to think of St Peter, quick to rush in with the wrong answer, and some right ones, quick to love, and as quick to withdraw when things looked black for his Master. When I feel as if I’m going round in circles in my journey with God, I’m glad that Teresa of Avila explored her interior castle ahead of me. When the world glows with the reflected glory of its Creator, as it does on this autumn afternoon, St Francis has expressed my own feeling that I should pause to join the universal song of praise. I really am grateful that I can relate to the Communion of Saints,- both those whom the church celebrates, and those whom nobody knows except God. In fact, I’m specially grateful for the unknowns, - ordinary people, a long way short of perfect, but pointing us to a better reality through the example of their lives. There are saints of that sort here. Look out for them as you go through the week and if you meet one, be glad that you’re part of the same community, called to be in relationship with them. You might even find they go to your church…but don’t be surprised if they don’t. God touches the lives of people way beyond the Church (a comfort on days when the institution seems intent on getting things wrong), so the Communion of Saints may well have some surprising members. Enjoy them…they are your family.