Saor an asgaidh
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare..." Isaiah 55. 1-3
In the face of a "cost of living crisis", when people are having to choose between eating and heating, God's invitation through his prophet Isaiah is all the more appealing. Are we to assume that we must interpret it metaphorically - as an illustration of the abundant life of faith? Wider reading in the book which bears his name, confirms that Isaiah was indeed a master of vivid imagery, yet there exists a material dimension to faithful living too. After all, God made us as physical beings as well as being spiritual and denying this fact leads us towards Gnosticism - that ancient heresy which draws a false distinction between what is material and what is of the Spirit. God is Lord of all and, in his providence, God has created an inheritance which is both material and spiritual. Jesus came to announce the imminence of that inheritance - God's Kingdom - which will reach its fulness when he returns to unite heaven and earth.
In the meantime, whatever our political views and regardless of whether we believe there should be a General Election or a Referendum on Independence, we pray for our new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, and the government he will appoint. May they serve with competence and compassion. And may their policies and decisions produce a society which is just and free, in which faith may flourish and our precious environment recover. Deliver us all from selfish isolation and grant us reconciliation - in every way and at every level...