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Covid, Alternative Energy and Sabbath as Resistance

Notes from Ovingdean......


Happy New Year


I hope your Christmas, however you celebrated it, was joyful and I wish you a very happy New Year.


The uncertainty and challenges around the pandemic continue which means we will need to continue to draw on those good things that have come out of the past few years, including our support for key workers and the love and care we have shown to neighbours, especially those who are lonely, vulnerable and in need. The rising costs of living are adding to all of this, especially after the expenses of Christmas and I encourage anyone who is struggling at the moment to reach out for support and help (Moneyworks 0800 988 7037 www.advicebrighton-hove.org.uk).


The need to reduce our carbon footprint and help households to access more affordable energy has encouraged some local residents to come together and form a small group called ‘Ovingdean Energy’. We are just starting out and would love to hear from anyone interested in energy conservation and alternative energy production including home insulation, solar panels, heat pumps and larger ideas around community energy production. We are considering a ‘Village Assembly’ in March, where we will invite residents of Ovingdean to come together and discuss ideas and identify possible projects that we could work on together. If you would like to get in touch and find out more the email address for the group is ovingdeancommunityenergy@gmail.com


January is the season of New Year resolutions and my resolution this year is to take Sabbath more seriously. If you read the bible it’s clear the Sabbath is important to God and is supposed to be a key part of our faith - but it’s something I think we all struggle with. As people of faith I wonder how many of us could say we take Sabbath seriously and say hand on heart, it’s a key part of our spiritual practice? Sabbath is a gift from God that we need to reclaim…..to unwrap and allow it to transform our lives. Jesus didn’t take the Sabbath away but instead brought freedom to the gift of Sabbath so we can take it in a variety of ways that make sense for us.


Sabbath is many things and is perhaps most significantly an opportunity to rest in the love of God. As part of this I believe it is an act of resistance. It is neither work nor play and so it runs contrary to the world we live in. Sabbath is about proper rest and about freedom from the demands of the world, especially economic forces. Our purpose is not to obsessively work or shop, we were made for so much more and the message of the world that we will only be happy if we work constantly or consume all we want is simply not true. For a truly abundant life these messages need to be opposed and we can do this through the Sabbath.


For example, imagine 24 hours a week of not actually shopping…yes ….but also not thinking about consumption, not looking online, not watching adverts and not looking at images of the things we want….whatever they might be….and in this way the ask starts to become more challenging and we can begin to see more of the transformational potential of Sabbath as resistance.


More on Sabbath next time and I’ll report back on how I’m getting on with my New Year’s resolution. Good luck with yours…it’s a long year!


Every blessing

Fr Richard









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