Travelling

tardisI am a massive Doctor Who fan.

Thirteen actors have headlined the series as the Doctor. The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show with the concept of regeneration into a new incarnation, a plot device in which a Time Lord “transforms” into a new body when the current one is too badly harmed to heal normally. Each actor’s portrayal is unique, but all represent stages in the life of the same character. Together, they form a single lifetime with a single narrative. Now when you think about it this sounds a bit like a parish priest: a single lifetime with a single narrative. A priest in the Church of England is defined by their calling: the single narrative to ordained ministry. Extracts from the ordinal or ordination service state:

Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent…With all God’s people, they are to tell the story of God’s love. They are to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to walk with them in the way of Christ, nurturing them in the faith. They are to unfold the Scriptures, to preach the word in season and out of season, and to declare the mighty acts of God. They are to preside at the Lord’s table and lead his people in worship, offering with them a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are to bless the people in God’s name…Guided by the Spirit, they are to discern and foster the gifts of all God’s people, that the whole Church may be built up in unity and faith.

As priests we swear to abide by this calling. We wear this stamp of priesthood imprinted upon us through the laying on of hands in an unbroken apostolic succession leading back through time to the apostle, Peter.

As I write, the latest Doctor Who series has begun with a new Doctor. Dr Who is a traveller, as Jodie Whittaker, playing the new Doctor, reminds the viewers. Priests are travellers too, called to follow in the footsteps of Christ wherever he leads us.

the white house

IMG-0473_editWelcome to blogs from the white house. These do not come from The White House of course. The photo of this white house is a bit of a giveaway. To look at The White House you need your sunglasses. The whiteness of the white, the whiter-than-white is too dazzling. This white house is more of a whitey-grey, more toned down, more real.

White is a very interesting colour. To begin with, strictly speaking, it isn’t a colour at all.

According to a wikipedia article: 

White is the lightest colour and is achromatic (having no hue). It is the colour of fresh snow, chalk, and milk, and is the opposite of black. 

White objects fully reflect and scatter all the visible wavelengths of light. White on television and computer screens is created by a mixture of red, blue and green light.

In ancient Egypt and ancient Rome, priestesses wore white as a symbol of purity, and Romans wore a white toga as a symbol of citizenship. 

In the Middle Ages and Renaissance a white unicorn symbolized chastity, and a white lamb sacrifice and purity. 

It was the royal colour of the Kings of France, and of the monarchist movement that opposed the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War (1917–1922). 

Greek and Roman temples were faced with white marble, and beginning in the 18th century, with the advent of neoclassical architecture, white became the most common colour of new churches, capitols and other government buildings, especially in the United States. It was also widely used in 20th century modern architecture as a symbol of modernity and simplicity.

According to surveys in Europe and the United States, white is the colour most often associated with perfection, the good, honesty, cleanliness, the beginning, the new, neutrality, and exactitude. 

White is an important colour for almost all world religions. The Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, has worn white since 1566, as a symbol of purity and sacrifice. In Islam, and in the Shinto religion of Japan, it is worn by pilgrims. 

In Western cultures and in Japan, white is the most common colour for wedding dresses, symbolizing purity and virginity. In many Asian cultures, white is also the colour of mourning. 

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White)

I am happy that this white house is not emanating eye-dazzling purity because that is quite hard for this occupant to live up to. In a dazzlingly white house everything you do and say would have to be so carefully managed in case you just fell off your pedestal. You would have to live an ultra-pure, ultra-moral life to live up to the God-like status of an occupant of The White House. An occupant of The White House would certainly never condone the moral failings of others, condone the bigotry and xenophobic actions of others or support the perpetuation of social injustices because acting out of self-interest just isn’t very white.

So from this white house won’t come great judgements on the rest of the world. I couldn’t live up to that sort of whiter-than-white moral high ground. 

Instead, I hope you will find bits and pieces that may feed, sustain, interest you, from the perspective of a parish priest going about her work.