Likeness and Image - Jim Holmes

Dear Friends,

         Tomorrow some good friends from the Cotswolds in England are coming to join us for several days in France.  Ahead of the visit, Colin has written, “we promise not to talk about Trump if you promise not to talk about Brexit.”

         Sounds fair enough.  We have endured enough watching CNN’s coverage of Collins’ speech and the vote for Kavanaugh and Trump’s triumphant reveling in the results.  They have heard enough from Teresa May about her wonderful Brexit plan and from everyone else about why it will not work. 

         It makes me think of the power of editorial cartoons.  Though I have not seen one such as this, I picture a young girl picking through the ruins of her tsunami-ruined house in Indonesia saying to a reporter, ”Brett who?”  I picture a young Syrian, dirty and in tattered clothes, looking longingly across the English Channel saying, “What’s a Brexit?”

         Issues literally of life and death—of finding missing family members, of scrounging the next meal, of asking for help which seemingly never comes—push aside the issues which consume so much of our energy.  Brett and Brexit are “first world issues,” and we need to be reminded that for so many who are refugees, who face famine, who are struggling with the results of drought or flooding, they mean little.  We need to be reminded that our “God of the margins” is with those who suffer; we need to help them and ourselves, in the words of this Sunday’s communion anthem, to ”believe in God even when He is silent.”

         I think the issues raised by the Kavanaugh confirmation are important.  The treatment of women, the silencing of women, are Gospel issues as we seek to respect the dignity of every human being.  I think Brexit is a blow to a noble experiment in building a united community across lines of language, religion, culture, and national identity.

         I stood yesterday in the cathedral in Soissons, a small city in northern France.  One hundred years ago, the cathedral was an utter ruin from the bombs which had been rained upon it.  It is a strong testament to the human spirit, to human ingenuity, and the power of working together that the church once again stands as a witness to the love of God in a troubled world.  It reminded me that, by the grace of God, we human beings can rebuild cities obliterated by storms and bombs, can feed people, can reunite families.  And yes, we can work for a country and a world in which women are given the respect that is theirs by virtue of being created in God’s image.

—Jim Holmes