Rector's Letter - December 2001

 Well, as the year draws to a close, I think we can safely conclude that 2001 was nothing like the film was it?  No manned space missions to Jupiter.  No computers clever enough to hold a conversation with.  No mysterious contacts with super-intelligent alien life forms.

 Perhaps that should not surprise us.  If you remember, the year 1984 was nothing like George Orwell's book either.  We managed to avoid the repression of a world-wide dictatorship by Big Brother, though I think the dark arts of spin and PR have got somewhat closer to the novel's speculations about thought-control.

 In fairness neither 2001 nor 1984 ever set out to be serious explorations of what would be, only what may be.  They took vision to the limit.  1984 was published in 1949.  2001 was released in 1968.  They looked ahead 35 and 33 years respectively.  Just within the boundaries of what might be seen.  Looking ahead a similar amount of time takes me into my late 70s.  I may be lucky enough to be enjoying a long and healthy retirement, but I will almost certainly be living in the last era of my life.

 This season of Advent calls us to speculate upon that future which will be found right at the extreme edge of this life.  Its themes are those of standing before God in judgement, mysterious visions of heaven and hell.  It may seem dim and distant, in reality it is not.  It is only just around the corner.

 Whatever the speculations of 1984 and 2001, the years themselves did eventually come around.  Similarly, we too will find ourselves standing at that horizon which is the end of this life and the beginning of the next.  It may not be exactly like the pronouncements of the book of Revelation, but make no mistake, it will arrive, and we may find the speculations of St John closer to reality than Orwell ever achieved.  At least in the vision of St John, one of the outcomes was heaven!

     Jeff Cuttell.


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