Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sue Vidits

It was a great sadness for us all to hear of the death of Sue Vidits.  Sue was a member of St Paul’s during the time of her husband George’s assistantship with us and she was a great enrichment to our congregational life.  She was a sensitive listener and possessed a sharp intuition when it came to responding to people in need, gifts which she brought to her work as a nurse.  She was also great fun,  conversation with her was regularly sprinkled with laughter.

Sue had a long struggle with cancer, the challenge of which was always clear to her as a result of her work with cancer patients, but her courage will never be forgotten by those of us who had any contact with her during this time.  This of course was a direct result of her faith which was deeply personal and had at its centre trust in the God who is present and powerful in every circumstance.

It was an inspiration to see this reflected in the Thanksgiving Service at St Andrew’s Kirk, Helensburgh where George is now minister.  The Very Reverend Dr Ivan Patterson, a personal friend of the Vidits‘, spoke of Sue’s lively personality and the impact she had on all of us.  But he emphasised the most important thing about Sue and that was the perspective she had on life which spoke of God’s great purpose of renewal  for the whole universe.  As a believer, Sue now knows the reality of this and enjoys not only rest and peace but the vigour and vitality of renewed body, mind and spirit. 

Those who knew Sue will remember her great enthusiasm for sport of all kinds and so it was no surprise that the text written on the Funeral Order of Service was from 1 Corinthians 9: 25:

‘Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever’.   

Paul says later in the same letter that if it is only for this life we have hope in Christ then we deserve more pity than anyone but ‘Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the guarantee that all those who sleep in death will also be raised.’  (1 Corinthians 15: 20). 

I am grateful for Sue and all those I have known who have cherished this hope to the end.  

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Obsolete Man.

It is interesting how many popular novels, graphic novels and movies see a future where dictatorships have taken over western democracies and implement laws which are said to be influenced by Christian ‘fundamentalism’.  V For Vendetta which started life as a graphic novel and then became a film is an example of this.  The Obsolete Man although dealing with a Western dystopia sees different values at work in shaping society.  This was an episode in the second series of The Twilight Zone originally shown in 1961.  The leading character Romney Wordsworth is played by Burgess Meredith, surely one of the most underrated actors in film history.

In this nightmarish future Wordsworth is standing trial for being a librarian and for believing in God.  After the Chancellor ie. the State prosecutor has ascertained that a librarian has to do with books the following dialogue takes place:

‘Chancellor: Since there are no more books, Mr.Wordsworth, there are no more libraries, and, of course, as it follows, there is very little call for the services of a librarian. Case in point: a minister. A minister would tell us that his function is that of preaching the word of God. And since it follows that since The State has proven that there is no God, that would make the function of a minister quite academic as well....
Wordsworth: There IS a God!!
Chancellor: You are in error, Wordsworth. There is NO GOD!  The STATE HAS PROVEN THAT THERE IS NO GOD!!
Wordsworth: You cannot erase God, with an edict!’
In the end, Wordsworth is pronounced 'obsolete' and found guilty but is given the privilege of choosing his own method of execution.  I will not spoil the ending for those who wish to follow this up.  You can find the whole episode on YouTube, that is if you do not already own the DVD box-set like this sad blogger.  But Wordsworth’s final hour is spent reading aloud some of the great passages of comfort and strength in the Bible.  
It may be unforgivably fogie-ish simply to say that they don’t make them like this anymore.  But can you imagine a modern piece of popular entertainment standing up for books and God and giving us a good man with a love for the Bible?  
The more serious point is that in the early nineteen-sixties the big fear seemed to be that governments could become so powerful that they could control what we read, what we think and,  as Wordsworth would have it,  legislate God out of existence.  Arguably, we are closer to this now than to those modern visions of the future where a loveless, repressive Christianity is in control.  I mean, have you read the papers?