Rector's Letter - November 2003

My dear friends,

"Your sins shall find you out!"  It sounds a terribly old fashioned sort of maxim, the sort you used to see on dull posters at railway stations, or pushed into your hands by bill-board clad evangelists handing out closely-typed tracts on street corners.  What ever happened to that sort of evangelism?

We have got terribly sensitive about such things in recent years.  It is so much more comfortable to preach love and mercy.  But we forgot that the idea of mercy was meaningless unless juxtaposed to a concept of guilt.  It is a terrible indictment on our moral character that we don't seem motivated by a belief in what is right, we do what we believe we can get away with.  Research on the use of CCTV security cameras suggests that a knowledge that we are being watched is one of the greatest possible motivating factors governing human behaviour.

In recent days, some have found to their very great cost that things they believed were safely hidden from sight could in fact be made visible to all.  Policemen flaunted their racial prejudice when they thought no-one was looking, athletes took drugs they believed no-one could detect.  Perhaps no-one ever cared enough to say to them "your sins will find you out"?

Instead, their lives are ruined, their honour lost and their plans utterly destroyed because they couldn't believe anyone was watching.  In a strange sort of way, preaching judgement may have been the most compassionate and merciful thing anyone could have done for them.

Jeff Cuttell.

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