A SENSE OF HUMOUR GOES A LONG WAY

St Peter’s Wormleighton - Notes for July 2020 A sense of humour goes a long way One of my more obvious - and perhaps for many who know me – most annoying characteristics is a tendency to make excessive use of modern means of communication - e-mails in my case and not social media. Covid-19 and its associated lockdown allied to the fact that my normal flow of translation projects has dried-up, have all given me (in theory anyway) an excessive amount of free time to devote to contacting my many friends. Gratifyingly, and somewhat to my surprise, I have only actually had one friend out of 60 or so - a Paris-based Englishman, devoted Remainer and Corbyn supporter - who asked me not to send him any more of my - to use his expression- ”bigoted and mostly right-wing viewpoint’s or humorous clips” However, ultimately even he then relented when faced with a joke I could not resist sending him which he also found irresistibly amusing and we are once again communicating. Having a sense of humour is perhaps a rather special English characteristic not necessarily shared by many other nationalities, with the exception of those whose culture may have been influenced to some degree and at some stage in history by the English. Actually our closest in this respect are perhaps the Danes - maybe we got it from the Vikings! Satire, irony and ridicule are of course forms of humour that can be used very effectively to combat or even damage other people’s viewpoints with which we do not concur. Only a few short months ago, our present national situation would have been regarded with incredulous laughter if it was put forward as a serious future international scenario for the world of which all-powerful humanity was supposedly the undisputed master. But Covid -19 within a few short months has grown from being something that was/is so small that it is invisible into becoming the Elephant that is in virtually every room of every building, house, office, church and public place and against which there is no real defence apart from avoiding all contact with it. Its power, unlike that of an elephant which is usually stated metaphorically as being in the room, lies in its ability to transfer itself with largely humans as its carriers into any part of the world within the space of just a few days. Historically of course, humour-related weapons played a big part in boosting the British Nation’s morale during 2 world wars and also did so with the use of political jokes within Eastern Europe during the post- WW2 period of Russian Communist imperialism from 1945 until November 1991 when the Berlin Wall fell and Churchill’s metaphorical Iron Curtain was ripped apart. The Kremlin’s and the Nazi’s seeming lack of humour probably made the British even more resistant to being ruled by people whose sense of humour differed so substantially from our own. The regime in Beijing is hardly a bundle of laughs either – nor is Trump! Did Jesus have a sense of humour? I suppose it must have been quite hard for a human being, knowing that HE was due to die on behalf of the rest of humanity, to have found a great deal to laugh about. Certainly the Scriptures provide little evidence of Jesus as any kind of a joker but it would probably not be inappropriate to imagine that, having taken on our human nature, HE also had a sense of humour and was not entirely “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief “but perhaps those that subsequently wrote about HIM found that the story was a little too serious for HIM to have any great humorous side. But I think for many of us something that is entirely without humour is unlikely to be particularly attractive and so maybe the rather over-pious approach to religion of the early Christians is not necessarily appropriate or even applicable to modern Christian Ideals Church opening and the future. It seems likely that St. Peter’s church will not be participating in any semi-opening-up for private prayers due to the sheer lack of people available to implement the raft of regulations being imposed on churches that wish to do so and anyway we do not also have the available human resources for this. Our overall aim to maintain our church as a place of Christian worship for all-comers from our own and other parishes must be the core of our planned future. We do desperately need younger people to come forward and help us to keep the flame of Christianity burning. The way we approach things will have to be one that is appropriate for the needs of the Post-Covid era in which we sense that there needs to be a clear pathway for people coming forward whose views/questions about “Why are we here” and “What’s it all about?” need to be answered. We have to make sure that following the path of Jesus is something that is appropriate for people in the 21st-century. It will not be just like founding a new charity or peddling hellfire and damnation for nonbelievers. Whilst the basis of whatever message we put across will stem from the Holy Bible, the message we put out has to be the right one otherwise Wormleighton and other rural parish churches risk becoming monuments to a bygone era. Over the next few months, local church leaders will need to carefully consult parishioners as well as each other on the best way of establishing Christian communities that are once more at the core of local rural life, which has changed very substantially during the last 120 years. Today’s message just has to be one that can be embraced by today’s parishioners. Yesterday’s message won’t pull in the customers. Jeremy Wheeler- on behalf of St Peter’s Wormleighton - Telephone 01327 264 330 email: jwheelertranslation@gmail.com

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