Fake News

Dear Friends,

I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that this month, on Thursday the eighth, we have a General Election and all the main parties have been, for what seems an age now, wooing us for our votes. It is certainly not for me to tell you for whom to vote but I would encourage you to vote. It is a precious democratic right for which our forebears sacrificed much to preserve.

Since the 2016 US Presidential election campaign a new phrase has entered the English language – “Fake News.” This idiom is used by people, mainly politicians, to describe what they consider to be lies and fabrications reported as facts. Whether the so called “Fake News” are made up stories or facts the person in question disagrees with and would rather not they be brought to light is, of course, open to debate.

“Fake News” or indeed fake anything is the opposite of truth. Truth is at the very heart of the Christian faith. Pontius Pilate famously asked Jesus at his trial, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) Jesus didn’t answer Pilate on that occasion but earlier that same evening Jesus had assured his enquiring disciples, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6) Truth is not an abstract concept to be discovered by philosophical debate (as the Greeks thought in Jesus’ time) or adherence to the Law of Moses (as the Jewish leaders thought in  Jesus’ time) it is knowing the person of Jesus Christ and his revelation of the Father’s love and saving grace.

Jesus told his first disciples if they held firm to his teaching, “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). The truth revealed in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus sets us free from bondage to fear, despair and hopelessness and opens up our hearts and lives to love, compassion, justice and peace which we are called to share with a troubled world which is often a slave to the purveyors of, “Fake News.”

Sunday 4th June is Pentecost Sunday – that day we celebrate the coming into the world of the Holy Spirit in a special way which gave birth to the Church. Jesus, when he promised his disciples this gift, described it thus – “when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13) We are delighted to be welcoming on the evening of 4th June our brothers and sisters from the other churches in West Wickham to celebrate together the gift of the “Spirit of Truth.”

Disregard “Fake News!!” Jesus said, “For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37)