July 2022

What is really important?

This article comes to you in July (2022). I first learnt that I was on the long-list for Bishop of Salisbury in July 2021. It has been a long year for me; a long year for all of us as so much has changed as we have emerged out of the pandemic and into an economic crisis, with leadership and integrity in question and sadly, war in Europe.

I wonder, why are we surprised? Out of the most difficult of circumstances come problems, conflicts, shortages and challenges. We learn more about ourselves. We learn more about reality and about the human condition.

And yet, we also learn that we have the power to provide vaccinations, we have the power to fund recovery, we have the power to change our communities, we even have the power to blunt aggression. Its’s all about choices.

What a powerful thing to have choice. So many people in our world do not have that. We have choice in the Diocese of Salisbury.

As your Bishop, I am not prepared to preside over petty differences in the name of choice. We have a privilege, and we need to use it for the common good. It is a shared responsibility. It is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to. As someone always said to me (and they were from this diocese), with privilege, comes responsibility.

We cannot deny in this country that we are privileged. The scandal is when people fall through that net. Too many of our brothers and sisters in our society are struggling. And yet, just look at the poverty and still the glorious witness of our brothers and sisters in the Sudans. We have much to live up to.

Our sometimes-petty differences give me concern. Whose work are they? When I received the call to be your Bishop, my first thought (after blind panic) was ‘What is really important?’

What is really important is our faith. Faith that God in Christ has our back. The only problem that gets in the way of his love, is when we turn our back on Him in the name of our own failures.

God is love, and those who live in love, live in God, and God lives in them. 1 John 4.16

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