Bishop's Message: The Sorrow that Heals

4th October 2021

Driving across country from Norfolk to Birmingham after a funeral gives plenty of time to listen to the radio. One of the BBC R4 Saturday Live contributors was reflecting on the loss of his mother at a young age. He said that one of the effects of long-lasting grief for him was the inability to stop doing things or change habits and routines.

Rowan Williams makes clear that human identity is related closely to memory, that ‘may show us how we have been trapped at various points in the past’ (‘Resurrection’ DLT 1982 p29ff)

In a time of grief or loss can you and I cherish those memories that are fruitful and life-giving and put away those that are corrosive and hopeless? 

Going to the root of our inertia can be difficult. 

Those who have deep grievance or guilt from the past and those who suffer pain and rejection in the present can be caught by the prejudice that isolates. This is seen in all controversial areas from racial justice and human sexuality to climate change and the making and use of wealth.

In this October 2021 of Black History Month, COP26 and Party Conferences let us turn again to the transparent mystery of Jesus Christ with the help of others and the power of the Cross and Holy Spirit for encouragement to break free from the sin that oppresses for lives bearing fruit that lasts. 

Take a moment to read Psalm 51 and this prayer that follows:

“Take away, good Lord, the sin that corrupts us;
give us the sorrow that heals 
and the joy that praises
and restore by grace your own image within us, 
that we may take our place among your people
in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

(Church of England Common Worship p723)