The family had all gone back to their own homes after Christmas, my Beloved was out, and I settled down with a cup of tea in a quiet moment to catch up on the drama ‘The Miniaturist’ on TV.
     The novel, by Jessie Burton, had enthralled me and the TV adaptation was proving to be an accurate and detailed one, set in the Amsterdam of 1686.
The plot is not vital to this Page, but at one point I found myself shouting out loud to the screen – “How dare they!”
My anger was roused by the characters, mainly rich Burghers, and supposedly pious church leaders, judging and condemning the leading persona and using the Bible and God as justification for their own bigotry, and in order to boost their own status and power, and for monetary gain.
     All through history this has happened, and it is happening still.
This distortion of God and Scripture does more to turn people away from the true, loving, compassionate and merciful Father that Jesus Christ came to teach us about than anything else I can imagine.
     How many souls have turned away from God because of the ‘bad-mouthing’ of those who describe themselves as Christians?
     How many have dismissed the Bible because of the twisted interpretation put on certain sentences by those with an axe to grind, or to promote their own agenda? 
     How many have looked at the likes of us and thought “If that’s what a Christian is I don’t want anything to do with them or their God”?
     How many have decided not to pay a second visit to their Parish Church because of the person in the next seat? Or because the clergy said the wrong words, or didn’t say the right ones?
     We can spout Holy Writ – quoting chapter and verse – as loud and long as we wish, but if we do not LIVE in the way Jesus taught us, we are as the sounding gong that St. Paul spoke of in his letter to the Church at Corinth.
     The drama that I was watching on TV was fiction, but the attitudes depicted are real, and I could imagine someone watching and thinking “It’s always been the same, State, Power, Church, I’m glad I’m not part of it all”. We can watch and say “Oh that was in the 17th century - it’s not like that today”, but in this present, mainly un-churched society, we had best be careful of the type of witnesses we are, the picture of God WE set before the world.
     There is a tradition that St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, when he was very old and frail and had to be carried to meetings of the infant church, would repeat again and again, “My dear children – love one another”, we could do worse than to follow his advice through 2018.
     One of Fr. Eric Buchanan’s favourite themes in his splendid sermons was “Don’t talk of love – SHOW ME”.
  ​​Joy Yorke