Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 200 000 readers More than 10 000 links Updated every Sunday

New This Week
Everything new is here.

News Centre
News archive
News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
New Zealand

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
Awards and publicity
Beginnings, AO at 5
About our logo

Support AO
Shop for AO goods
Help support us!
Thanks to our friends

Our search engine


Hallo again to all.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the day's slide into early darkness is by now unmistakable. With the turn of the seasons, one knows the annual lessening of daylight will occur, but knowledge and experience are quite different things. Few adults worry about the bogey man under the bed, but the occasional unexpected shadow can still cause us to jump. And early dark can still atavistically prompt us to draw nearer to our wood fires (if we're lucky enough to have one), decide to make soup, or grab something warm and soft to toss on.

As we watched the sunset this evening, that clarion call of Our Lord — Be not afraid! — drifted through our consciousness. We weren't at all actively afraid, anxious, or fearful during our sunset reverie; if anything, our mood was wistful, with a touch of sadness, sprinkled with a dash of melancholy. Still 'Be not afraid!' echoed.

It is a world in which it is all too easy to be afraid. With good reason. From terrorists at large to tensions in the church (at small?), all round us there is what we might call an occluded front of discord. The news — from telly, print, radio, or web — seems often shriller and more hysterical than it need be. Our societal adrenaline level always seems to be pushed too high by headlines, with journalists as the pushers. 'If it bleeds, it leads', the distasteful adage holds. It's so easy for those of us in the church to fall in with this general mood and tone. Volleys of press releases from various church 'political action groups' urge us to take this or that position or send this or that email. It seems at times as if all press releases are written from the precipice of imminent crisis. We'd prefer now and then (okay, now and often) a release from the precipice of imminent patience.

Of all people, we Christians have every reason to be confident in the face of uncertainty and cheerful in the face of evil. Our baseline: Good has triumphed over evil; the Lord of Life has overcome death. Once and for all. That's our context, our claim, and that on which all our hope is founded. If we hold to that — yes, in the face of all evidence to the contrary — we should be, on the whole, more genuinely confident, loving, courteous, graceful, and grateful Anglicans. There's a lot of bluster amongst us at present, and bluster (along with its first cousin, braggadocio) is the outward manifestation of fear and insecurity. We're not suggesting that Christians go about in a constant state of disgusting cheerfulness, as the blessed Charles Williams once quipped, but surely a quiet (and at its best a radiant) confidence should characterise what we do in the church and in the name of the church.

In these dark and troubling times, it's a common reaction to strive harder for certainty; to draw lines and separate grey into black and white. We worry about those tendencies, especially as they become more common in our beloved Anglican Communion. We wonder whether it is only those who lack a grounded and deep faith who demand absolute certainty. Trust and patience, it seems to us, may be more reflective of the fruits of the Spirit.

We recall two women we know: The first, an English martyr during the reign of Queen Mary, called out cheerfully on her way to the pile of faggots that awaited her, 'Patience, Lord, I am coming as quickly as I can'.

The second, a dear friend in Holy Orders coping with a critically-ill husband, wrote last week: 'I was with a parishioner this evening who is himself facing diagnostic stuff that would knock any of us into a different realm. We agreed that all of this reeks, but that it is real — and that we are bonded one to another in a way that makes us almost careless and happy. As if we could just hold hands and jump into the volcano. . .'

See you next week. Be of good cheer.

All of us here at Anglicans Online

Last updated: 23 October 2005

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2005 Society of Archbishop Justus