First Word - March


“No Man is an Island, entire of itself” As the March magazine drops through your letter box I estimate there will be 29 days left before the Brexit date of 29 March is reached. Politically, constitutionally, economically, internationally it is one of the most important decisions of modern times for our nation. It has caused real heart-searching for many people. It has caused debate if not division in families which is probably not yet over. It has resulted in heated exchanges in the Houses of Parliament as well as significant division between the nations of these islands, as well as with our European partners. At the end of the day however the words of John Donne, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, in the seventeenth century are relevant to this whole debate. He famously said “No Man is an Island, entire of itself”. We often are heard to say we live in a global world where what one person does impacts upon another. The inter-connectedness of trade, of economies, for so much of our modern day living depends on good relationships with our neighbours whether it is the people next door or the neighbouring countries that we work with or go to for our holidays. Whichever direction the final decision takes us in we will need to work at re-building broken bridges, of healing divisions and learning to engage in new ways with each other for the good of all. The Christian gospel has two words to help us move forward and they are forgiveness and love as we attempt to build unity with diversity. Over the centuries the Christian church has not always been a good example of holding diversity together in unity. Thankfully in more recent times we have seen a growing understanding and respect for people of differing traditions. My own work with the Scandinavian/ Baltic Lutheran churches has demonstrated how we can place the importance of mutual respect as a priority whilst approaching matters of faith from different view-points. We cannot live in isolation – that is why the common life we share as a Group is so important in allowing us to draw strength from each other. Fr. Stuart Nairn