News & Items of Interest
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The Parable of the Rich Fool
Luke 12 Verses 16 - 21
16. And he told then the parable,saying “The land of a rich man produced plentiful,
17 and he thought to himself “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store crops?”
18. And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
19. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”
20. But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”
21. So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.”
I wonder how many of us, like the “rich fool” on finding ourselves with a bumper harvest, a windfall of money, or even money saved over many years of careful or frugal living, would want to put their wealth in a secure place to give security for the future?
Is Jesus telling us off for building bigger barns? Is he telling us to give all our wealth away for charitable purposes, in order to be rich towards God.
There is a parallel story in the Old Testament. Joseph in Egypt, storing grain in huge barns during the 7 years of plenty, in order to feed the hungry in the 7 years of famine: and yes, Joseph - the servant comes good and becomes the hero we all respect and love. (Genesis 40) has Jesus got this story wrong, should he not be praising the entrepreneurial, careful “rich fool”
Actually there is a fundamental difference between these two stories. Joseph stores the grain for then benefit of everyone, he uses his leadership and administration skills for the well being of the wider community. However, the “rich fool” uses his good fortune “ the abundant harvest” simple for himself. “To take life easy, eat, drink and be merry” He goes and buys his third yacht and sunbathes in the Caribbean!
I’m sure that Jesus is not criticising wealth creation, but we are expected to be responsible in the way we use our wealth, and part of being responsible is to love our neighbour, for to care for our neighbour is to be close to God.
The Mission to Seafarers Flag Day
The grand total of £188.94 was raised, thanks once again to all the collectors.
Christian Aid Collection
The Christian Aid Week collection amounted to £2313.49.
Many thanks to all the House to House collectors for their continued support.
A Day at the Royal Welsh
The Royal Welsh Show is one of the premier Agricultural Shows attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from Britain and abroad. It is a privilege to be able to volunteer as an Agricultural Chaplain, to be a tiny part of the huge team that ensures the smooth running of the event each year. Hundreds of people, young and old, give their services for free, stewarding, manning the gates and fulfilling any number of diverse tasks. To witness all the good will, reinforces one's faith in human nature!
This year I was asked to be chaplain amongst the cattle exhibitors, to be a presence in the cattle sheds, wearing our RWAS (Royal Welsh Agricultural Society) jackets and clerical collars, and simply talking to who ever wants a chat. The cattle sheds, as well as being hives of activity – cleaning, feeding, watering and preparing the animals, are also places to socialise and even relax. Wandering down the cattle lines would normally be a perilous occupation, but these show cattle are “professionals” - no kicking, only the danger of being assailed by softer, more smelly projectiles.
This year we were asked (by The Church in Wales) to sound farmers out on their response to “Brexit.” I was slightly uncertain about doing this, fearing that farmers, - faced by a stranger wearing a rather officious costume, asking questions about their possible financial futures – might simply clam up, or give only PC answers. “Farmers can't survive without EU / state financial subsidies.” However, I was surprised and pleased by the willingness of all, to not only talk and discuss, but to be completely candid in their answers.
My greatest surprise (because it goes against everything we read in the media) was that well over 80% of farmers were strongly in favour of “Brexit!”
“We need to wean ourselves off our dependency on subsidies, and decide on our own policies.”
Admittedly, most of these were not farmers from the “Less favoured,” mountainous areas of North Wales, (although one farmer was from Orkney!) but their independent, self reliant response was still startling. Only two farmers argued passionately for staying in Europe; one arguing very compellingly that the failure to support farming would result in rural poverty and depopulation, with a resultant loss of Welsh culture and rural community life. The UK and Welsh governments will not be so willing to plough money into agriculture. The other believed that we should stay in the EU as a matter of principle, working constructively with our neighbours, talking as colleagues around the table.
It is always good / healthy to listen to a diversity of opinions, and have our own prejudices challenged, whether in religion, politics or social attitudes. My overall impression was of a farming community, stoical, mature and realistic in its outlook, something I could not help but admire.
Aftrenoon Tea 14th July 2016
Afternoon Tea at Trefeddian Hotel Aberdyfi organised by the Pastoral Team