CAVERSHAM BRIDGE AND THE BIG ISSUES. It is a privilege to contribute an article to Caversham Bridge. Each month its lively and colourful productions update us on what is happening around us. It is encouraging to see and to learn from the considerable variety of creative skills and interests people around us have.
When John Bird launched a new concept of magazine for homeless people to sell in order for them to earn money, he cleverly called it “The Big Issue” linking the issuing of the magazine with major issues of the day.
So what are the big issues of today?
- International conflicts
- 100 million displaced people
- Huge numbers living with severe hunger, water shortages and crippling poverty
- Catastrophic climate changes
- Corrupt governments
- Human rights abuses
- Terrorism, racism and crime
- The possibility of economic collapse
The issues we face are indeed big. They are massive threats to the values we seek to live by-justice, peace, freedom and integrity.
With so many inducements to despair, where can we find a rational basis for hope? Where can we find the resilience and strength and wisdom we need to address these issues in an effective way?
As a person of faith I believe that the ultimate antidote to our shared anxiety is to be found in the existence and nature of God. God is committed to what he has created, God encourages and empowers us to cooperate with him and with one another in ways that bring life, compassion and healing. God is the source of human inventiveness and inspires us in tackling life’s major challenges.
We need God and we need each other if we are to make effective headway in facing and overcoming the really big issues of our day.
What we share in our life together in Caversham goes some way towards effectively building communities where people relate to each other and care for each other. We saw something of this in the street parties and other celebrations that marked the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. We also see it in simple everyday neighbourliness. Caversham Bridge itself contributes to this community coherence.
We are conscious of how vital the bridges are which link us to Reading, and of the considerable traffic frustrations if either of them is blocked. The image of being bridges that allow free flow of creative activity, information and ideas, that bring people together in understanding and reconciliation may be helpful to reflect and act on.
Revd. David Jenkins is a member of the Methodist Team Ministry