The Alpha Course
For everyone, whether new to Christianity, wanting to investigate, or just brushing up on the basics.
Alpha at Christ Church
As we approach Christmas, there is so much to do and so many human needs around us, as well as all the infuriating adverts, that it is easy to become exasperated and spoil Christmas long before it has happened.
The Christmas story of Joseph and Mary arriving in Bethlehem is both tragic and wonderful. Tragic because the Holy Family were rejected, they went without and were probably hungry as they lay in the cattle shed waiting for the baby to come. But it is also wonderful because all heaven celebrated, the shepherds stood in wonder, and the kings brought marvellous gifts after thousands of miles of travel and, of course, the history of the world was changed.
The headlines have been dominated this week by the Assisted Dying Bill which even if passed by the House of Lords, should be rejected by the House of Commons. This has raised many issues around justice and the care of the elderly. I want to take this opportunity to bring to the debate a very difference aspect. That is the effect on those relatives who have to play a part in assisting a beloved relative to die.
My own experience of this, is when the doctors recommended to my mother and me that the ventilator upon which my father depended (he had not regained consciousness for nearly a month) should be turned off. We complied and very quickly he slipped away. There were many good reasons for doing this, including the quality of life he would have had if he had survived. While it was fully supervised by the medical profession, with the complete compliance of the family, nonetheless it was an extremely difficult choice and his passing has left a huge scar on us all. Over fifteen years later I still miss him; he would be 82 now if he had lived.
It is always a bit of a burden when somebody asks you to do something you do regularly but you have got other things on your mind. As I write England have just lost to Uruguay and our World Cup fate hangs by a thread. On the other hand our first grandchild Thomas Luke Kenyon was born 18th June. So to receive an email saying ‘Please can we have your article for the Moreton Hall Directory’ while always welcome did cause my shoulders to sag a little. But then it set me thinking. How often do our children come to us and say things like ‘Daddy, can you do my buttons up? Or will you help me with my homework? Or, I’ve lost my mobile phone. Or even, why haven’t you washed my sports. kit when I need it for school tomorrow?’
At those moments it is easy to be terse and say things like, ‘you should be doing that for yourself now’ or when will you grow up?’ It is not until they have left home, do you realise how precious such moments were. Just when they were open and wanted our help we pushed them away. For some children this can lead to greater friction in the teenage years. Others to turn their backs on their parents rush into a world where they really need help and protection, but now they will never ask.
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