Rector's Letter, September 2000.

 "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy", says Hamlet.  Five centuries after Shakespeare an abiding sense of life's mysteries remains.  We understand our world better than ever before thanks to the meteoric advance of science and technology.  Yet we are left with the nagging thought that when science and technology have had their say, there will still be vast tracts of life's landscape that remain undescribed.

 Our modern world likes to think of itself as deeply sceptical, even post-Christian.  But I'm not so sure it is quite ready for that conclusion.  Look at the phenomenal success of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books; or for a teenage audience, the success of TV's X-files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  These fantasy worlds abound with angels and demons, spells and incantations.  Whilst too sophisticated an audience to take them literally, today's computer-literate generation are nevertheless quite at ease with ideas of there being another dimension to life beyond what is merely visible.  It is often their forbears who are rather more sceptical.

 September sees the Church celebrating the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, or Michaelmas as it is traditionally known. It gives its name to the University term that begins at this time of year, and it is one of the main festivals for ordaining ministers into the Church.  It is also the time of year when rents are due on tenant farms up and down the Land.

 But primarily, the message of Michaelmas is this: Life has two parallel but totally integrated scripts, one for its physical players and one for its spiritual players.  One script might include a scene with men and women as its actors, in the other the same scene is played out with a cast of Spiritual powers at work for good and evil. 

 What might once have seemed a rather incongruous left over of Medieval thinking actually isn't as strange to the newest generation as their rather sceptical parents once thought.  A new generation is wondering "Perhaps there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies?"  Churches have to be ready to give them the answer.

                   Jeff Cuttell.

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