Sometimes I find myself in some incredibly diverse places which causes me to ponder life, where I am, what I am doing and how I got there. Sometimes those spaces stretch my mind to some limits …
So earlier in the week, as you know, I was at a seminar day considering mission and poverty. I found the day hard hitting and challenging and came away with a refreshed vision to serve in new ways. I got angry over statistics of the mistreatment of people. I remember scenes growing up on my council estate in the early Thatcher years … but that poverty I was part of was nothing to what I was hearing on that day.
Then came last night …. as I attended the 386th Annual Feast of Sion College, held in the amazing surroundings of Clothworkers’ Hall. We had amazing company and speakers, glorious food and wonderful wine. It was a black tie event and I dressed accordingly. I did think about the comments I would have from my childhood friends! How on earth did a council estate boy from Weymouth end up here sitting next to a wonderful guy with ‘Sir’ at the start of his name?!
It was a painful contrast to the subject matter of Tuesday. I thoroughly enjoyed the night and seem to be able to hold the two extremes in some tension … but I am not sure I should be able to? Is it that I am missing something here? It’s true to say that in what has been quite a tough year, Sion College itself, and new friends I have found within it have been immensely supportive and encouraging. And as I said, I thoroughly enjoy being part of this college and having my mind stretched by the quality of our speakers.
How can I get so angry at the injustice of the need for food banks and homeless shelters while sipping wine and eating amazing food in the plush surroundings of the hall we were in last night? I want to say that the conversations we have, the links we make, the things we learn encourage and enable us to step out from those places to make a difference in our individual parts of the world …. but am I kidding myself?