O thou who changest not

Change and decay in all around I see, O thou who changest not, abide with me.

Hymns are not usually sung at 8am, when our prime minister has the custom of receiving Holy Communion, but Teresa May might well identify with the sentiments of that hymn.

It has been another extraordinary week in British politics, where another political gamble has been lost, and the Prime Minister appears to have been badly advised. There was a risk early on that, like Brenda from Bristol, we might have had voter fatigue and turnout would be low. However as the campaign went on, public interest in the election gathered strength and turnout was the highest for 25 years. What is especially noteworthy is that young people, made the effort to exercise their democratic right, (in contrast to the referendum), and in some parts of the country the youth vote was decisive. The experience of this election for any politician should surely be that you can take nothing for granted in politics today.

As we celebrate Trinity Sunday, how wonderful it is to relfetc that God the Holy Trinity does not change. What a firm foundation for faith we have. A collect for Night Prayer asks God that ‘we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,may rest upon your eternal changelessness.’ What we believe about God, what we affirm in our creed, is the same as that defined 1700 years ago in the Nicene Creed.

We must all accept that change and development will come, we cannot sit by the sea, like the King Canuteof legend,  and command the waves not to come in. However it is important to reflect and rest on the changeless nature of God; that Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. In less complicated times Christians were probably closer to God than we are today.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he brought with him the 10 commandments etched in stone. Not so long ago they would have been prominently displayed in every church. But I doubt if many people could name them all now, because we are not taught to memorize such things, they are not etched into our hearts.

However in the last week we have again seen the breaking of the commandment, 'thou shalt not kill', in the most terrible way. The murders at London Bridge, along with those in Manchester and Westminster, break the essential covenant we have with the rest of the population, that we can leave our homes without thinking that someone may deliberately set out to do us harm, for its own sake. The perverted aim of these killers is that conflict will be incited between Muslims and non-Muslims in this country; they want to make us hate each other.  

This can never be, and the people of Manchester have set a defining example in this. Our response must surely be that we will continue to freely live our lives according to our values, and that we will not succumb to sectarian hatred.

On Trinity Sunday we are reminded that the essential property of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is love. There is a dynamic force of love within the Trinity and between its persons. As Christians, as believers in the Trinity, we are drawn into that dynamic force of love. We receive God’s love, given to us in Jesus through the Holy Spirit, and that same love works on us, and enables us to love others, sometimes in spite of ourselves.

A little girl once wrote a letter to God which said “dear God, I bet it is very hard for You to love everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.” But consider the promise of Paul to the Corinthians: "we wish you happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you."

The election has hopefully stirred us up in this country to think about what is important for us and our country, what future we want for our children. Previously it seemed that there was little difference between the political parties. Perhaps now there will be more of an engaged debate of ideas. But we cannot leave it to politicians to sort out our country, change begins with the individual.There is a Gaelic blessing which says:

If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
So let it be.

May God the Holy Trinity make us strong in faith and love, defend us on every side and guide us in truth and peace.