The Church of the Holy Cross, Avening

Monthly Letter to the Parish - August 2017

Hallelujah, Halleluuuujah!

We are always surprised by how easily some actors and actresses manage to metamorphose into their roles. The best of them really seem to become the character - think of Alec Guinness for example (if you are over 60) or maybe Sean Bean (if you are not).

Guinness's film roles became legendary, while Bean was a real TV heart-render as the gallant fictional soldier Sharpe of the Peninsular Napoleonic War. He has just eclipsed that success as Fr. Michael Kerrigan in the TV series 'Broken' . Similar roles in a way, but as Fr Michael, Bean looked right, sounded right, and 'felt' right. And to an ancient, moth-eaten and rather grumpy old parson he was actually pretty good at and around the altar.

So good that I expect he may be thought of as a real priest by some people who can lose themselves in a make-believe world which seems closer than, or to, their real one. 'Broken' was very good. It made us cry a lot, and laugh a little - and Fr Michael's experiences hit home because Sean Bean got it right. He may even have been asked to hear a confession or two. Bet he also got some lurid fan mail.

A neat point was the use of the song 'Hallelujah' , not just for its haunting tune but for the words. "We may be broken, but we are not beaten". Not just appropriate for a television story about one fictional and heroic illustration of the Christian Church at work, but for the Church as a whole and many, all if we are honest, Christians here and everywhere.

Broken. At times broken-hearted, broken-spirited, broken in body or mind, broken dreams or ambitions - or just plain broke. Nobody is immune, but as Christians we have an immense advantage when picking up the pieces. We are never alone. Fr Michael may not really be here for anybody who needs him, but there are others who are. Christians have faith, hope and love - three qualities which abide and can never be beaten. And the greatest of these is love.

Richard and Margaret Maslen