Vicar's Letter - August 2020

August Article

Dear Friends,

One of the consequences of ‘Lockdown’ has been my introduction to the online meeting tool that is Zoom.  I seem to spend a great deal of time each day in virtual meetings in which I am confronted by a computer monitor full of faces.  From the safety of my office I like to study those faces, and as a result I have come to realize that I have a confession to make.   I too often have an opinion about other people!  I find myself constantly judging – “he/she looks interesting/ clever/ arty/ wealthy/ fashionable/ nice/ friendly etc….” 

I read something the other day that made me realize that all of this is a mirror image of me – how I judge other people is how I judge myself.

Jesus said, ’Do not judge’ (Matthew 7:1) and I try not to – but it’s so hard.  I must try harder because the main victim of such judging is not other people, but myself.  In judging others I judge myself and as a result can so often feel that I am failing in some way.

May be I’m the only one who does this, but I don’t think so.  The problem is that we live in measurement world where we constantly gauge our worth in comparison to something or someone else.  We do this knowing that of course this line of action will never satisfy as there will always be someone or something greater or lesser, whatever we achieve.  To make matters worse, this type of measurement isn’t static.  In one day we can yoyo up and down the scale dependent on whom we meet and/or where we are.

Why do we allow ourselves to get buffeted around, striving for approval from equally fragile people?  And especially if one happens to be a Christian who should believe in the non-negotiable, unconditional love of God.

Maybe it’s a question of priorities.

You see whatever we give most value to – i.e. put our trust in – is going to have the greatest impact on our life.  To date, the influence of ‘measurement’ in my life is stronger than I’d like it to be because I live in a world that is constantly encouraging me to compare myself against everyone else.

And yet I am free to choose which voice I listen to.  I can listen to the voice of measurement world in which I am always destined to fail, or to the voice of my God who says, ’Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine… You are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you…’  (Isaiah 43).

Whose voice do you choose to listen to?

So next time you see me on Zoom please do not worry – I will not be making any judgments about you – unless, of course, you have one of those interesting Lockdown hairdos!

Yours in Christ,                                                                                                  

Simon