The first part of February 2023 will be remembered in Cheswardine for the murmurations of starlings which performed their incredible aerial displays over the fields fringing our village every evening as dusk approached. We were drawn to the streets to watch in awe as they wheeled and swarmed or listen for the soft synchrony of thousands of wings as they swooped low overhead, leaving a few mementos on coats and hats below. The local car washes were well-used for weeks! The flock must have numbered hundreds of thousands of birds, but groups would break away and fly off in their own trajectory to circle a tree or building and return to merge with the others. Finally, as the light weakened, as if by silent signal, the whole flock dropped from the sky in unison to roost for the night in the trees or Miscanthus crop below.
In the same weeks we have witnessed the bishops of the Church of England issue their statement affirming the blessing of same sex partnerships, which was subsequently debated at General Synod. The vote was in favour, but (as with Brexit) the margin was quite narrow. There has been much discussion in the Church and wider press and many of us continue to prayerfully search the Bible and seek the guidance of God’s Spirit on this matter. The Bible speaks of the living relationship between God and his people. It is not as simple as a rule book of ‘dos and don’ts’, of boxes to tick on the journey to eternity. In every generation people have struggled to apply the laws of the Old Testament and the teaching and example of Jesus to the issues of their day and their culture. Like the starlings, there may be groups who break away to fly on their own trajectory or interpretation. The crucial thing is to remember we are held together by our common belief in the steadfast love of the Creator and the saving grace of Jesus. As the apostle Paul cautioned, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4 v.1). Ultimately, just as the starlings drop together at dusk to roost for the night, we will fall into the eternal love and mercy of God which is wide enough to encompass our differences, however earnestly they are held. For, as Paul writes in his beautiful poem about love: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Cor. 13 v.12 King James Version). So let us move forward together with a deep humility and respect for one another, whatever view we hold. Rev Becky, (20/2/23)