Saturday, November 11, 2006

A hungry and receptive Wilderness

In a few weeks we will begin the liturgical season of Advent . John the Baptist’s cry to “Prepare the way of The Lord” rings loud through those opening weeks as we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s Nativity.

Reports from Britain this week bring hope that the wilderness into which John cries, whilst still a wilderness, is a more receptive wilderness today. A multi-faith think tank called ‘Theos’ issued a report in London this week claiming that most people in Britain now saw religion as a force for good.

In a joint foreword to the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (head of Britain’s Roman Catholics) said that those who want religion removed from national life are themselves guilty of an intolerant position. They write that "Religiously inspired public engagement need not be sectarian and in fact can be radically inclusive”.

An article in ‘The Tablet’ says that “the report itself argues that religion will play an increasingly crucial role in society, because of growing interest in religion's part in promoting happiness and well-being”.

With Interest Rates up, the drought, talk of Victoria entering a recession, a retail slow-down over this traditionally busy next few months, limited employment and a general uncertainly about the future, John’s words speak to us today.

John’s 'prepare and repent' is a call to return to basics, to the key things that matter, to faith in a loving and forgiving God whose promise for the Earth is in the Rainbow and for us is in His Son.

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