[An edited version of this article appeared in the Spring 2012 edition of ‘The Neighbour’ (the newsletter of Bletchley & Fenny Stratford Town Council)]
In another town recently I saw graffiti (a daubed post code) indicating a territorial claim or a no-go area, signifying insularity and rejection of others. Most people reading this article will share a Bletchley post code. It’s a wonderfully diverse town in ethnic, cultural, age and religious backgrounds. But, hopefully we share more than a post code and features that place us into particular groups. Probably the critical element for any vision of a sustainable community is that of personal interaction with good and gracious listening. This is demanding; but it’s probably the best way of forming authentic and really sustainable community.
The meaning of Easter, for Christians, is expressed in one word: Love – love from God, for God, for our family, friends and for the community. At Easter Christians celebrate and worship, One who didn’t disassociate Himself from others, but engaged with them (especially His enemies). This loving example from the One whom Christians call Saviour, seems to form the most essential feature for any truly sustainable community life. This quality of love reaches through barriers of distrust and disharmony and, through its authentic application, we find that there is no post code difference in our common concerns, hopes and fears. Love is a feature which calls for us all to try to engage personally and practically with other people; especially so during economic restraint of international proportions.
Our Town Council has approached their difficult function of building a sustainable community with thoughtful zeal; but the great vision of a Bigger, Brighter, Bletchley remains. Perhaps we all have a part to play in this vision too by interacting, interrelating and joining with others in love so that our town may be renowned for its quality of community cohesion, care and spirituality.
Whether you are a Christian or a member of another faith (or of none), I wish you all, a very peaceful and joyful Easter period.
Rev. Chris Bell