Saturday, 9 April 2016

Thought for the Day, with Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant

Hullo,
         
Justin here.
                           
Oh my goodness – where to start? Just as I was coming to terms with my need to deliver sermons with rather more vim and vigour than hitherto, I am confronted with depressing world issues which demand responses.
                          
Let me begin with Mr Donald Trump, the American would-be president so apparently beloved by an alarming number of his fellow countrypersons. I have listened attentively to his policy speeches and sadly, can only assume that he is conducting a rather long-winded practical joke, or indeed, that he is a narrow-minded super-rich bigot. My Mr Hassan and the young man with the wire in his ear have both offered their opinions but I simply cannot publish them here.
                       
And I do feel for the poor Port Talbot steel workers and their families. It is indeed ironic that the owner’s name, Tata, is a diminutive of “goodbye”. I do hope not.
                      
But as my lady wife will attest, I have been plunged into the slough of despond by England’s cricketing loss to the West Indies. Frankly, I am not a fan of the limited 20 over version of the game with its rather brutal hit and hope philosophy. For me at least, a game between two teams of professional cricketers should last three days. It should be interrupted at least twice by rain and/or bad light. Batsmen should score thoughtfully, glancing the ball delicately, unencumbered by body armour and high-impact helmets, whilst the crowd should be large enough to be heard occasionally , never indulge in coarse shouting and never rejoice in names like “The Barmy Army”. But those days are dear, dead and beyond recall. Nevertheless, I do feel for honest toilers like Ben Stokes – so reminiscent of the fast-bowling village blacksmith of days gone by and who was clouted for six four times in his final over.
   
What would Jesus have done? Well he would probably have stoically accepted the result and moved on. Which is exactly what I shall do. There is much to arrange here at the Palace especially with regard to the imminent Palace Spring Fayre. I shall need all my diplomatic skills to avoid the inclusion of events like The Archdiocese Wet Tee-shirt Contest and a performance by a local pop-group called, apparently, “God is Dead”

Pray for me.

Pip, pip,


Justin

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Thought for the Day, with Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant

Hullo,
          
Justin here. Last Saturday, joy was boundless in our home thanks to the Herculean efforts of the English Rugby Union team. I say boundless although our Mr Hassan seemed unimpressed, calling the game “an imperialist power struggle”. Whilst I don’t quite see it that way, I must confess to relying upon my lady wife and the young man with the wire in his ear to explain the finer points to me. I, of course am a devotee of leather ‘pon willow.
         
Nevertheless, the English victory and the passions aroused thereby served to remind me that I had resolved to inject my Sunday sermon with, for want of a better term, a bit more vim.
       
Now, I am ever mindful that our God is a forgiving God. What would Jesus have done, I wondered. However, like Our Lord when faced with moneylenders in the Temple, I decided not to mince my words. I roundly condemned political double-speak, the reduction of disability allowances, badger culling, soccer players’ salaries, the fox hunting lobby, pornography, paedophilia, the cost of HS2, and people traffickers, pausing occasionally to strike the lectern in front of me.
      
The effect was stunning. I saw with my own eyes transfixed parishioners, several biting their hassocks. The service concluded with “Onward, Christian Soldiers!” and my hand was shaken so often that as I type, I wear an elastic support. I confess that afterwards I lay in a darkened room for a while. Forgiveness is far less exhausting than hell and damnation.

Pip, Pip,

Justin

Monday, 29 February 2016

Thought for the Day, with Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant

Hullo,
        
Justin here. A few days ago, my lady wife and I returned to the Palace, with her looking forward to the Six Nations Rugby, whilst I, invigorated by a few days brass-rubbing, fondly anticipate penning the following few thoughts.
      
First, I must thank the young man with the wire in his ear for standing in during my absence and whilst our writing styles may differ, I am in broad agreement with his thoughts on Europe. In this modern world of wall-to-wall toothpaste adverts and Facebook, this island cannot stand alone as it once did in the dark days of 1940. And I ask myself, what would Jesus have done ? Well, I for one believe that Our Lord would preach forgiveness. He would forgive foreigners for being foreign, driving on the wrong side of the road and refusing to understand even when shouted at. He would even forgive some of the more questionable European sausages. 
         
But I am heartened in my Christian preaching by the re-emergence after ten long years of refurbishment of The Flying Scotsman, that singularly beautiful Gresley locomotive. I heard it described during television coverage as being “alive” and seeing it hurtling northwards amid clouds of smoke and steam, I think that is most apt. Of course, I have no wish to cast aspersions upon our excellent diesel and electric motive power units, but the romantic in me does wish that they could be as dramatic as The Scotsman when delivering their undoubted tractive efforts.
          
I am resolved therefore to reinvigorate my preaching style; to appeal to my flock’s sense of drama; to counsel forgiveness certainly, but to do so far more assertively. I might even raise my voice.

As ever,

Pip, Pip,

Justin