Stagger onward rejoicing

Tag: hope (page 1 of 1)

”The Sermon of the Wolf,” by Eleanor Parker

For Wulfstan [preaching in the year 1014] diagnosing his society’s ills as breaches of law was not a source of despair, but an opportunity. It meant he could offer a plan of action. In this sermon his purpose is not just to denounce and lament, to criticize without providing solutions. His aim is to preach repentance and amendment – to convince people that things can get better, even in the shadow of the end times. The end will come; he has no doubt of that, and right now things are almost as bad as they can be. But there are measures we can take in the meantime, he suggests, things that will help. They won’t stave off the apocalypse or keep the Antichrist away. Yet they’re still worth doing – both morally right in themselves and a remedy for present evils.

His message is simple: repent, repair, do better. There’s no pretense that it’ll be easy. “A great wound needs a great remedy,” he says, “and a great fire needs a great amount of water if the blaze is to be quenched.” The worse the situation, the more work and collective effort it will take to mend it. But the promise that it can be mended is, nonetheless, a remarkably hopeful takeaway from such a fierce and angry sermon. 

Is Wulfstan the unofficial patron of this blog? 

A Canticle

Yesterday I got a sweet email from my friend Francis Spufford, expressing his prayerful concern for the condition of my country right now, and I replied,

It’s getting harder to maintain hope, and harder still to maintain charity towards Certain People. I told Teri yesterday that I’m ready to move to a cabin in the desert of West Texas and check back in with humanity in 2030. In the unlikely event that things will be better.

Francis answered that “If you do that, you may of course find yourself operating a scriptorium, where the works of St Wystan are copied by hand so they may survive the dark age to come….”

In the current circumstances, that doesn’t seem like the worst way to pass my remaining years.

But Francis also pointed me to this reflection by the Reverend Canon Jessica Martin — whom Francis happens to be married to — about a very small moment very long ago, featuring two very small people, that carries, for those with ears to hear, a very large hope.