The Parish of Sandal Magna

Different kinds of power

Power is like a drug, the more you have the more you want. Even the power to do good can be abused by religions and other organisations, as we have seen so tragically in recent months. So how can the negative dimensions of power be transformed into something positive and good? Jesus exchanged the power of his heavenly status for the vulnerability of a servant. Paul quoted Jesus' words: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Saints such as Francis of Assisi, have have followed Jesus' example and lived a humble way of life, characterised by an identification with and care for the poor.

In 1964 Jean Vanier set up his first community in France where able and disabled lived alongside one another in equality and harmony. There are now 149 L'Arche communities around the world, places of beauty and peace where the sharing of life and learning is mutual.
A film set in the first L'Arche community called ‘Summer in the Forest’ is on general release, and the keynote is the joy that bubbles up in everyone, as they live together. That doesn’t mean to say it is always easy for the members of the community. It is a costly way of life which can only be sustained by the motivation that comes from their Christian faith.

It is difficult to replicate such places of simplicity and peace in our busy and complex lives, but we can practice love and humility wherever we are called to be. And we can listen to those who are disadvantaged in our society, who often have a grounded wisdom which is lacking in the corridors of power. We can also learn from someone who has lived an exemplary life of love and humility. We all know someone like that.

Rupert Martin

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© Sandal Magna PCC 2016.
Registered Charity Number 1131795.


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