Sunday 3 March 2013
Our Lent Course has begun using Sam Wells’ book Power and Passion. Starting with Pontius Pilate we have been reflecting on power and our own relationship to it. We often assume that others hold the power in our lives and it is a favourite pastime to complain about politicians, bosses, bankers, chief executives, bishops etc. What is often more difficult, Sam’s book suggests, is to acknowledge our own power.
I took this reflection to the group of people who are or have been homeless who I meet each week at The Connection at St Martin’s. Here is a group, one would assume, who know about powerlessness but not about their own power. Their reflections quickly broke down that false assumption. One talked about a Wednesday drop in group which was threatened with closure. In response he had encouraged others to go to the AGM in which they were able to express how important this group was to them and the group is still going strong. Another talked about his experiences as a nurse realising how important it was to listen to the patient’s concerns when the hospital administration failed to listen, even when that led to conflict he would rather have avoided. Another talked of cuts being made to an education programme which was conducted through home visits to single mothers. Rather than let the programme get axed they organised to come together as one group, with a crèche for the children. It meant not only that the programme became financially viable, but they had more education time and the advantage of meeting others in a similar situation.
“How can I help the church or do anything for others?” someone wrote to me last week, “I feel so incomplete myself.” Perhaps it is through that incompleteness that we allow God the room to complete us and discover that we have more power for goodness than we realised.
Revd Richard Carter