St. Helen’s Daily Lenten Devotional
No news report, these days, is complete without some reference to misinformation. ‘alternate facts’, conspiracy theories and other flights of misbegotten fantasy. Creditable sources will share these references as a warning to the vulnerable but, as the saying goes (attributed, probably erroneously, to P.T. Barnham, the mid-19th century showman) ”There’s a sucker born every minute.”
The problem isn’t simply ignorance, although that may well be a factor. The cliché “Ignorance is bliss” originates with the writings of Erasmus in the early 16th century but was made popular in Thomas Gray’s poem “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” (1742). “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.” It refers, of course, to the attitude that if you do not know about something you do not worry about it. But claiming ignorance in this era is irresponsible.
The real concern, however, is the lack of desire to learn in order to grasp the various perspectives around an issue. Study, reflection, prayer, and, ideally, discussion, facilitate coming to educated conclusions while remaining open to new information. In true humility we might even have to admit that we need to grow in knowledge and understanding or even, as they say, learn ‘to live and let live.’ This is valid for individuals but also for communities and institutions.
If you read the Annual Report and the Charge and visit the website for St. Helen’s regularly you know a little bit more about the nature and complexity of ministry of this particular parish. Have you ever explored the Diocese of Ottawa website(ottawa.anglican.ca) or listened to a podcast starring our Bishop? Have you ever visited anglican.ca, the website of The Anglican Church of Canada? Both are rich resources for news and announcements, discipleship and worship materials, studies and policy statements, information about how the governance of the Anglican Church operates and so on. When we declare that “reading and meditating on the word of God” is integral to the observance of a holy Lent, it’s important to extend that thought beyond the scriptures. Consider including in your discipline some continuing education about the Christian denomination you have acknowledged as your spiritual home, as the Holy One speaks, in every age, through the Body that is the Church.