Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Priests and People of Faith

A few years ago we had a wonderful holiday in Greece. While we were there we were able to travel to Corinth and visit the ruins of the ancient city where St. Paul addressed the Tribune and to where he sent his famous letters. Once, one of the most important and largest cities in Greece and in the world of that day, and now just a heap of ruins in a large site still being excavated. In those days it was close to the coast but now it is several miles inland. Looking down from the hill on which it was built towards the coast, in the far distance, you can see the modern city of Corinth.

Having now been to several sites visited by S. Paul (in Turkey - Ephesus etc., Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Rome) it has made me realize just how enthusiastic the early Christians were to bring the good news of the Gospel to people far and wide. They didn’t have the advantage of modern travel facilities and often their lives were put in real danger not only from hostile people but also from theconsiderable dangers in travelling. They took to heart the injunction Jesus gave to spread the Gospel allowing nothing to stand in their way which brings me to the point I wish to make. Why don’t we have the same enthusiasm today that those early Christians had. We don’t have to brave wild animals, pirates, dangerous seas or difficult travel although we might have to brave the hostility of some people.

Over the last few years we have seen a steady decline in membership of the Church of England with declining church attendance. Whilst there are many reasons for this one of the most likely is the watering down of the faith and the liberal agenda. The promised growth we were told to expect with women’s ordination has not happened which will be no surprise to most of us whilst those who continue to teach the faith as delivered to the Apostles have seen growth.

One of the tasks that we must undertake, once the Ordiariate is up and running is the important task of mission. The Ordinariate must not become just a refuge for dissenting clergy and people but a body of priests and people of faith proclaiming the Faith and bringing people to it.

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