Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Coming down to earth

March 2019

A few days before writing this letter I fell off my garage roof.  I was going to put back a slipped tile but I badly misjudged things and came down to earth rather painfully.  I now have several broken ribs and some uncomfortable weeks ahead.  As you can imagine I’ve thought a lot about all that happened.  Here’s just a few of my thoughts:

I am foolish and make wrong choices.  And if that’s true for my plan to fix the tile it is true in a hundred other ways in my life.  Not all of my mistakes have such sudden painful consequences but the results may be deeper.

My foolishness hurts others.  It brings tears to my eyes now to remember how I lay on the stretcher listening to the paramedic leave a message on my wife’s voicemail, knowing how awful it would be for her to get that message.

How amazing our First Responders are.  I was on my own when I fell and could only make it as far as the phone.   It was such a relief when help arrived and if David was annoyed at me for having interrupted his decorating he certainly didn’t show it.  Thank you!

Suffering is real.  I spent 3 days in a hospital ward full of badly injured men.  The Bible tells me to expect such places in our world – our collective rebellion against our loving creator means that suffering is never far away – but to see it close up is desperately sad.  There were a few like me who were recovering well but others who will always have to live with their injuries.  For some their physical injuries were nothing compared to everything else they faced in their lives: fractured relationships or suicidal depression.

Thank Jesus for hospitals.  They are remarkable places staffed by people who are caring, competent and resilient.  Thank you!  I don’t mean that the staff would all say that they do what they do because of Jesus, but when you think about the cultures in our world’s history where compassionate medical care flourished, and think about who influenced those cultures, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion:  Trace the lines back from today’s desire and ability to heal people; so many of them go to the one who went around “healing every kind of disease and sickness”.


Graham Burrows

Saturday, 9 February 2019

The neglected room

February 2019

When did you last go exploring?  You may not spend much of your time at the South Pole but when you go on holiday I expect that, after you unpack, you feel the need to leave the campsite or the hotel and head out to explore the surroundings.  We’re also used to exploring new ideas or life-styles – that first-ever visit to a gym, or a sincere conversation with someone who votes differently from you or has a different diet.

But what about exploring Christian faith?  Surely no-one who has grown up in this country would feel the need to explore something that seems so familiar?  But is it familiar, or is Christian faith more like a neglected room in a very large house – it’s so long since the door was opened that hardly anyone can remember what’s in there.

Perhaps we have a vague idea of a few prominent features: some characters (Abraham, Moses, David and, of course, Jesus) and some half-remembered sayings, but no certainty about how it all fits together.  We know that earlier generations must have found it relevant because Christian faith became so woven into our nation’s life (it’s there in our buildings, in our books, in our festivals, our thinking and our values ) but we’re not sure why it was able to transform our nation.  We know that our politics are in chaos, our relationships and families are falling apart, and that huge numbers are struggling to find purpose and direction in their lives and yet we don’t expect that the old dusty room of Christian faith would be a likely place to discover the treasure that we seek.

So I’d like to invite you to Christianity Explored.  Seven Thursday evenings led by me here at the Vicarage in Burton plus one full day, with clear explanations of classic Christian beliefs and time to think, to ask and to question.  Interesting, surprising and perhaps life-changing.  Of course if you come I’d love to convince you that this is the best news you’ve ever heard, but there will be no arm-twisting.  There’s no charge.  We begin on 7th February and you just need to ring or text me if you are interested in joining us.


Graham Burrows