Letter 2013 February 3

Abbot’s letter: 3 February 2013, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary TimeEA-logo2

Dear Parishoners,
It has been observed to me that if I talk too much about television programmes, people might think me rather frivolous, so, I will not say anything about Danish crime and political thrillers (even the excellent Borgen) and instead turn to something Swedish; Redwings.
Redwings, are, as I am sure you know, thrushes that spend their summer in Sweden and winter here. We don’t see them much because they prefer open fields, except, according to the RSPB website, when it’s very cold and they come into urban gardens, which is why, when I looked out into our snowy garden over my porridge, I saw a gang of about twenty of them. What was initially striking was their splendid appearance, but what really caught my attention was their behaviour. Some food had been thrown onto to the snow for the birds and a great crowd of them had descended. The Redwings dealt with this situation by aggressively chasing away the Blackbirds, while ignoring the plump looking pigeons, who continued in their placid but thorough way, to hoover up every available crumb. It struck me that, had the Redwings devoted a fraction of the time spent on bullying smaller or more timid creatures on actually eating what was available, they might have eaten rather more.
Which brings me to how we behave. We are very good at desiring and planning to obtain and defending what we have, but are we really any good at actually enjoying it? You can’t have your cake and eat it, we are told, which might explain why we are so often, in one sense or another, rather hungry. By the time you read this Candlemas will have come and gone. This feast marks the final end of the Christmas period and the time to take down the last of the decorations you have all been hoarding since Christmas (unless, of course, you are like my mother who removed every last trace early on 27th December). The year is now turning and as the mornings lighten
Ash Wednesday is approaching fast, but before we move on to what’s new, look back for a moment. At Christmas Jesus takes our way of living, so that we might share the gift of his life; in accepting this gift, did we stop long enough to actually enjoy it?
Yours in Christ , Abbot Martin

© Ealing Abbey, copyright, 22 February 2013