SLOWLY BUT SURELY I’m regaining strength, and if not exactly full of energy am not needing to sleep around the clock quite so much. Awake enough to realise how much I miss contact with the parishioners, friends and family who’ve kept faith with me, and have prayed, and wished, and delivered French beans to the doorstep, and kept in touch. Awake enough to realise how much I miss the daily prayer and reflection that I do through reading and writing, as much as through silence, and meditation, and the liturgy of the Church. Awake enough to realise that I’ve taken for granted the energy consumed in maintaining contact with many, many precious people across the years and that – in what Fr Richard Rohr calls “the second half of life” – there’s going to have to be a bit of careful self-regulation required if energy is to be available for the things that really matter (namely the said maintaining of contact with the said precious people … )

It’s our connection with one another that matters, above all else, it seems to me, for the future of our world. No sportsman, I’m nonetheless missing the “Olympic spirit” of the past few weeks almost as it were a physical hunger. My heart is battered by the sights and sounds of injury, insult, torture and torment and killing in Syria right now. And God knows how many other places besides. And it’s for want of connection – for want of the realisation that when Jesus wept over Jerusalem – (ironically, translated, “Vision or City of Peace”) and many another prophet besides, before him and since – he was weeping for the arrogance, the profoundly ignorant stupidity in those members of the human race that believe they’re in sole possession of every religious thought and word and deed that matters. For not only is that untrue it’s also dangerous. Such stupefying ignorance and arrogance costs lives. The lives of children, their mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and grandparents and role models. And often the very lives of the ignorant themselves. And that’s not (bearing in mind that I speak from within my own tradition) “Christian”. Neither is it humane. Neither is it what we were created for – being truly human.

“The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” said Jesus. For the life of the world. And the “bread” that he gave and gives was his life – the same life, the same breath that  fills our lungs and animates our bodies, and that we’re called to “give for the life of the world”. The life of the world. Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t building a Church so much as building a new vision for our world. A world where connections and empathy and sympathy and mutual respect matter as acts of creation.

I made the photo attached to this post whilst on a recuperative visit to “sea air” ten days or so ago. Perhaps you’ve spotted the lone fisherman? Or maybe (especially if you’ve clicked on the image to enlarge it) you’ve spotted that s/he’s not alone. Closer inspection reveals the moving presence of others. We’re not alone. We’re not built to be entirely alone. We’re built to be connected, to one another and to the One who built all things. We are to take care of ourselves. And we are to take care of one another. And that means sometimes asking questions about our religious assurances – and standing on a quiet seashore often enough, quietly enough, to begin again to hear some Real answers to our prayer – “as the waters cover the sea …”

12 thoughts on “LONE FISHER?

  1. “… he was weeping for the arrogance, the profoundly ignorant stupidity in those members of the human race that believe they’re in sole possession of every religious thought and word and deed that matters.”. Oh my, Simon, I think this is so, so true.

    I think we would be so much better off in this world if we all practiced a bit more tolerance, stepped back, took a deep breath, and considered the very distinct possibility that there is more than ONE way to look at the world. This post touched my heart, from all the way across the water, from someone I’ve never met yet whom I know in my heart to be a good, warm,caring soul and one whom I would instantly call friend had I the pleasure of meeting you face to face. You at so right–we are all built to be connected…thank you for this beautiful post. So glad that you’re on the path to recovery…. 🙂

  2. Would that people could embrace this truth not just for themselves alone or those they feel most comfortable with or love in the narrow sense – but for humanity. We have within us a truly divine capacity for care and tenderness, love and generosity – clearly aggression and hostility are its corollary and it distresses me to the point of tears. You have taught me my friend that each person can effect a change – perhaps like a pebble dropped into water. So after we despair of the horror, we must also continue to love. But first – garner your strength!! 🙂

  3. Good to hear you are on the mend. And what a beautiful post to come out of your time “away”. One of my favorites: “A world where connections and empathy and sympathy and mutual respect matter as acts of creation.” Love, love, love!!! Thank you Simon! I am well encouraged by you today!

  4. If this is coming from a man weakened by illness, I cannot imagine what you will write when you are recovered. I read and feel you righteous anger over the horrors perpetuated by humans against humans. My thinking is that if we could dispense with the institutions of religion, and simply follow the truths of the great spiritual leaders like Jesus and Buddha, etc., we might stop hating and killing long enough to understand that we ARE connected—not ought to be, but are in the oneness of all that is, and all that is is contained within each of us, as a drop of water contains all the elements of all water. Each drop is not separate from the whole, but a part of it. That is what Jesus meant when he said that bit about, if you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me. We are a remarkable species or spiritual beingness, because while we poison one another in this oneness with our hatreds and evil, we also keep one another alive with our love, and wish to be better. We are both ignorant and sublime. I want you to be better.

  5. Simon, it is wonderful how you continue to give inspiration to others from distant places. We are so blessed to have you here in Bramhall. We have missed you and hope you are regaining you strength.

  6. Thank you so much, Lori, for telling me so. I hope that we may indeed meet face to face some day. I’ve mentioned to you that I’d love to see the New Hampshire I’ve read and heard so much about some day. Please remember me to Bishop Gene if and when you bump into him x

  7. Thanks dear Mimi. Teaching is such a two-way thing isn’t it? Thanks for being such an inspiration to me x

  8. And I, dear Rebecca, by your own lovely post on human persons having choices – and our obligation to encourage one another in that glorious (and terrifying – and sometimes-frustrating-for-others) freedom x

  9. Dear Cynthia. Thank you so much. Remarkable indeed – and clever enough to invent new institutions if we dispensed with the old ones, I fear. But yes, yes, yes, let’s hear the wisdom in all the voices – past, present and future. “Ignorant and sublime”. I’ll remember that beautiful coupling as I often think of and remember you, with deep gratitude and admiration x

  10. Very dear Ann (and Charles). Thank you. I’m blessed to be here – and by wonderfully supportive and sustaining friendships x

  11. As you are to me Simon – so I’d call this an almost-even gift exchange (I would argue of course that I get more out of the deal, but you may disagree and I don’t want you wasting any energy in that debate…so just agree with me and carry on with your recovery dear friend)..xx

  12. You know I’m counting on you to drop in for a cup of tea if you make it over to the Granite State, and yes, should I ever have the honor to meet Bishop Gene, I will definitely give him your regards…. 🙂

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