Dearly beloved, recognise this truth, this world is in haste, and it hurries to the end, and therefore in the world, the longer it is the worse (this haste) gets.
These are the words Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester and archbishop of York who lived and wrote 1000 years ago. In some ways he is our contemporary, he was bom before, lived through and after the turn of the first millennium to the second. For him just like us, there were people predicting the world’s end and predicting it soon.
The potential cause of the world’s end may be different, but the fear of the end was there in the background of his culture as it is with own. Hence ‘this world is haste, and it hurries to its end’
There is a common notion that a crisis, a cataclysm, is just around the comer. It maybe, and maybe not. But those words really strike me today, ‘this world is in haste, and it hurries to the end’ because whatever lies in the future, this is true today. We are in haste, we hurry everywhere.
When I was young, I was in a hurry to be something, to get somewhere, to grow older and so on. Like water bubbling in mountain stream I was impatient to reach the valley. Now as I come towards the end of my fifth decade I find myself caught in meander, not quite sure which direction I am going in, except I am will end up in ‘sea’. And in this meander I find myself rebelling against the culture of‘everything yesterday if possible’. No, I want to say, you can wait, I can wait, ‘this world is in haste, and it hurries to theend’, and it will get to end without even noticing all that is ‘here’ along the way.
There is always somewhere else, but here is where we are.
After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph waited for forty days, they may well have received visitors, and some may have brought gifts. In the story as we tell it, we wait throughout the month of January, waiting in the presence of the Christ child in his home. We have waited for the birth during advent, and after it we continue to wait, but now with this holy family that we visit in our imagination and our hearts.
‘And Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart’, ‘this world is in haste, and it hurries to the end’ Pondering will not be hurried and the finding and knowing real treasure takes time, perhaps a life time.
Vicar’s thoughts for January 2017