Sunday, August 12, 2007

On not getting the message

Today's Gospel at the Eucharist contained the phrase : "You can be sure that if the owner of the house knew the time when the thief would come, he would not let the thief break in and steal. And you too must be ready.." (Luke 12:39-40). At Evensong St Peter reminded us that "The day of the Lord will come like a thief." Sure enough, we had a thief. The scriptural hint was lost on us.

Just as we were about the start the special Burma Star veteran's annual service, following the Eucharist, someone posing as a tourist talked off with the handbag of event organiser Wally Burn's wife, containing several hundred pounds. The thief went un-noticed in the traffic of people coming and going, mostly connected with the service. We haven't so far discouraged visitors from coming in when there's a service on, hoping they will stay with us and join in, but now we'll have to review our security policy completely.

We wait to see if the recently installed CCTV cameras yeild any indications as to the identity of the culprit. The incident cast a cloud of outrage over the service. Most of those present were over 75, used to feeling safe and at home in church. Evidently for some people, nothing is sacred. It's not just theft, it's desecration of a holy place. If the person was caught, would they be charged for this as well as stealing? It's very hard resist the temptation to seek vengeance on those who so dishonour and prey upon the elderly of a generation owed so much by the world we live in. The freedom they fought for can be used well or abused. How can we any longer make wrongdoing so unworthwhile that choosing to do good is the only satisfactory option?

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