Words of Light and Hope from Bishop Tony Foottit
Hero worship is a natural part of our human nature. The modern media have carried hero worship to great lengths in the cult of celebrities: stars of screen, radio, sport and fashion. Not every celebrity is a good role-model. Popular celebrities rely on PR, image, rebranding and self-advertisement. What better role-models than the saints, the true celebrities of God? They shine with the light of Christ and his life of love and obedience and live this life where they are, rather than seek it always somewhere else. John Chapman, a peddler of Swaffham dreamed of finding his fortune in London, and set off, like so many would-be Dick Whittingtons, to walk to the great city. When he arrived he found no streets paved with gold but in due course he had a dream about the apple tree by his door at home. So he returned home and dug under the apple tree where he found a pot of gold. It is where we are that treasure may be found. Susan Ertz said, Thousands long for eternal life who have no idea what to do on a rainy afternoon.
Cult figures can manipulate and ruin other people. The more we cultivate celebrities, the more we are likely to forget or ignore the ordinary people on whom we constantly rely. A list of unsung heroes might include refuse collectors, the night staff and all those who watch and wait and care for the sick and dying. Jesus gave us the example of washing his disciples’ feet. A church should reflect the hospitality of heaven and give space for art, drama, dance and music.
All Saints Day is the eve of All Souls Day when we remembered all those good souls whom we have known and loved and passed from our immediate presence. You read notices in the paper which say that this or that person who has died will always be remembered and never forgotten. But actually it is easy enough to let the cares of this world block the memory of those who are no longer with us. We forget those who have given us life itself, those who have loved us through childhood and adolescence and those who held our hands through sadness and sickness. It is important not only to remember them and follow their good examples, but to tell our children and grandchildren about them. After all we are all descendants. We all have a history.