From the Rector May 2011
- Written by Chris Lawton
An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.
Summer is on its way which means, sadly, that an old friend of mine will gradually fade away. He was full of sparkle and light during the winter months, but now you hardly ever see him, except every now and then for a brief visit in the evening. He lives directly opposite his great rival, and as he grows weaker, his rival grows stronger. Orion the hunter is leaving us for the summer.
Orion is one of the most obvious constellations in the night sky. To the right of the brightest star in the sky – Sirius – there’s a straight line of 3 stars which form his belt, and another 3 which form his sword. Orion is most visible during the winter months and won’t return at night now until the autumn. In Greek Mythology, Orion boasted that he was such a skilful hunter that he could kill every single animal on Earth. A giant scorpion was sent stop him and after a great battle managed to sting him. The scorpion and Orion were given prominent places in the night sky but were placed on opposites sides of the sky so they could never fight again. Every year, as Orion fades, so Scorpius becomes more visible.
It is often the way that when we welcome something new and exciting, something else slips quietly away unnoticed into the background and disappears. I wonder if you have ever felt pushed out and ignored when a new and exciting person comes on the scene. Suddenly everyone wants to know them and it is easy to be forgotten.
On the world stage, it is usually the most vulnerable who are forgotten about when the busy world moves on to the next exciting piece of news. When the TV cameras left Haiti and went to cover the floods in Pakistan, the desperate need remained. The cameras have now left Pakistan for Japan. The attention moves but the need remains. In a world that flits from one thing to another, it is very difficult to keeps one’s attention on one thing for very long. The media wants to inform us about everything and doesn’t really have time to rest on one issue for long.
But it is when we stop and get stuck in that we really make a difference. People who change the world are not those who know everything about it, but those who commit themselves and get their hands dirty. For some it is dedicating time to help a neighbour in distress, for others is starting great movements of charity and love. But all great works begin with the realisation that to make a difference it is more important to be dedicated than to be highly informed about everything.
When Jesus was crucified almost everyone deserted him – some ran away, some just moved on to the next thing. But three people stayed with him at the foot of the cross: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas and his mother Mary. These three women stayed with him as he died and then went to his tomb to anoint him afterwards. The three Mary’s had been part of Jesus’ group of followers and had been with him during the exciting times of his ministry. Now it was all over. Jesus was dead and all his promises seemed to count for nothing. So they went to prepare him for burial. But Jesus had not gone; he had risen from the dead and their shattered world was transformed into hope. The Three Mary’s had known despair, but now they were full of hope again.
The great message of the cross is that resurrection brings hope and meaning, but it also reminds us that people still suffer just as Jesus did. Some people seem to live a charmed life; others have their hopes shattered and their dreams crushed time and again. The cross reminds us that we can never forget those who the rest of the world passes by. The lonely and the homeless and the hungry might be eclipsed by the media and the world, but they are never forgotten by Jesus, and they should never be forgotten by his followers either.
The three stars that make up Orion’s belt are known in folklore as “The Three Mary’s.” They might be fading for the summer now, but they will be back in the same place in a few months’ time, as dedicated as ever – standing at the foot of the cross when everyone else has gone off to do something far more important. The Three Mary’s were there for Jesus; I pray that they will inspire us to be there for others.