Monthly Message

Returning from another country recently I found a slight change in British life. The new prime minister showed that the Conservative party can see beyond its traditional bases. For balance it has to be said though that it needed a second decision for that to happen.

The prime minister keeps his religious views mostly to himself. The Hindu faith and history is diverse and colourful. The most notable ideas are that there are many gods or deities but only one ultimate being, Brahman. The human being (and all life) has a spirit, atman which is a tiny part of the ultimate being which seeks to return to Brahman. The cycle of births and deaths is something to escape, uniting the atman back with Brahman. We might recognise this as the teaching of reincarnation, the cycle of life and death.

Western thinking comes close to Hindu philosophy at times. We all have a sense of doing right to fulfill our purpose in life. Many think that we come back in some way, referring to a previous life.  Many also think our circumstances are determined by our previous actions or choices (karma). If we show compassion in our lives, non-violence, humility, these virtues will enable a reincarnation closer to the ultimate aim.

Of course the modern western cultures have grown from the Jewish/ Christian faiths which teach that there is one God and that we are given one life. We are not judged by the balance of right and wrong but on our trust in God, our love of God.

Christmas celebrates the miracle of the incarnation.  The Word of God becomes flesh, present with us. Jesus is fully human and fully divine, not just in the shape of a person as in Roman or Greek mythology.  He is able to feel joy and sorrow, family, community and ultimately death. Unlike the avatars of the Hindu faith, he does not simply return to his divine form. His death is real. It is the saving story of the Christian faith that Jesus is then raised to new life, celebrated at Easter. This is the miracle that gives us all eternal life.

While many of us go about our lives keeping our religion to ourselves, we must act in accordance with our faiths. There is too much evil, injustice and despair for any of us to leave it to someone else. Perhaps our faithful actions will be the gift of hope that someone needs this winter.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Revd KC

PS. There is a Confirmation Service on January 8th for anyone who would like to make their Christian commitment to the Church. Please get in touch with me as soon as possible if you feel this is for you.