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The Vicar Writes “If only I could believe…” We get a paper on Saturdays (it’s the only day in the week when I can settle down to read one!) I don’t know about you, but from time to time something catches my eye in the paper and I tear it out to keep it. One piece was a letter written by ‘Bella’ to her brother who is homeless, a rough sleeper – a “tramp” as we used to say. She can’t easily find him so she wrote him this public letter: because there were things she wanted to say to him but never could, because she had no way of getting a letter to him; because this was in her heart. And it was a heart-breaking letter. She worries for him out in the cold, especially with Christmas coming. She worries for him with his alcohol problems, which makes it too dangerous for her to bring him to her home with her children, or even go and visit him where he sleeps at night. This had been a family that did the usual Christmas thing of going to “Midnight Mass” as part of the Christmas celebrations but Bella had not kept her faith. She wrote: “I don’t believe in God” But then she went on “but I pray for you. It seems that is all I can do.” I find this especially poignant both because I had a great-uncle who was a “tramp” and also because I hear people say something like this – a lot. “I don’t believe, but I pray.” What’s going on here? As Bella says, often there is nothing we can do to make a situation better and all we can do is pray. It feels like that with some of the big troubles in the world but it can feel like that too with our own family and personal issues. All we can do is pray. All we can do is long for some outside help because we can do no more. I have no doubt God hears these prayers – and answers them. (We would need several Vicar’s Letters to work out what we mean by “answer”.) (See the caption on page31 of the magazine…) But I am struck that people struggle to believe that God is listening, that God is real, but still pray. 3

Crosstalk Magazine December 2015 January 2016  

The Christmas edition of Crosstalk magazine

Crosstalk Magazine December 2015 January 2016  

The Christmas edition of Crosstalk magazine

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