Today was taken up with pastoral things and green things as I found myself in a couple of locations talking to people about ethical, morals and the values and standards that define us and our nation.
Would that the world and the Church embrace the same Values and Standards of the British armed forces. (remembered by the mnemonic CDRILS).
Courage: Moral and physical
Discipline: Self and imposed discipline
Respect: For others and for oneself
Integrity: WYSIWYG - are you/we what we tell people we are?
Loyalty: All found in that one word really
Selfless Commitment: Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friend
As I look at new recruits as they make their first contact with the military and begin their first day of training I wonder what they will look like when they pass off the square at the end of it all.
As I look at the Church I see what I fear most in the world as fewer and fewer of the Values and Standards are upheld and more and more people tell me what Church should be in their, often puffed up and dismissive of others, view.
One thing the Church is becoming is certainly not a mighty army. Is it any wonder that so many speak of decline when the world has so infected the Bride of Christ? It seems the grace and love that saw it grow became ingpfected by the leaven of power and politics under the Holy Roman Empire and the death knells are being rung by those who wish to see the world and Church become one - but not in an evangelistic sense - tragic.
As for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Father God, the Bride of Christ has taken on the mantle of Gomer and now sleeps with others in the name of integrity and inclusiveness and yet displaying duplicitous and exclusivity. Mutual flourishing has become a pot of wilting flowers detached from the plant such that eventually both will surely wither and die. Many I talk with share things in secret for fear of being outed as dissenting voices and merely remain silent. The conditions by which women were given their pointy hats have been trampled down and there is no shame apparent.
Lord, have mercy upon us and renew a right spirit within us, Your Church.
Forgive us Lord, for we know exactly what we do,