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In Romans 13:8-10 Paul tells us that love is the fulfilment of the Law – the one who loves another has fulfilled the Law. The Law cannot save us, faith in Christ does that, but if we love one another, we have fulfilled the Law. So, if I fail to wear a veil in Church, or even read the lesson or give a homily, but I love my neighbour as myself, am I obeying the Law? Are men with long hair really, as Paul said, ‘a disgrace’ (1 Cor. 11:1) – if so, it would be the one occasion he and my fiercely atheist father agreed with each other. I was much struck with something our commentator, Jock said here –  ‘we’re called upon to follow the example of Moses, to intercede on behalf of others’. This was in the context of my saying I did not think it my business to condemn others, as I had enough problem forgiving them; it does, sometimes seem to me that the urge to condemn others is a way of avoiding the much harder injunction from Jesus to forgive our enemies; Jesus does not tell us to do so only when they repent. There is, I think, a difference between what Christ and his Apostles are charged with doing, and what those of us with no such charge are called to do. I am so far from being without sin that not only can I not cast the first stone, the sight of stones can make me feel ill. It is a sight which calls me to my knees in a search for forgiveness. I am sure that when I reach the stage of advanced spiritual evolution where I feel able to condemn others, I will have lost the desire to do so, as I would hope to have surmounted the sin of spiritual pride.

Jock asked me to

ask yourself why you write this blog. What are you trying to achieve by it. Is it not your way of reaching out and trying to bring people to salvation? If so, then it must bother you (at least to some extent) that there are people who have rejected God. It bothers you enough at least to write this blog

It’s a good question, as Jock’s always are, but his answer is not mine. It is not given to me to bring anyone to salvation, and I should need a direct call from the Lord, and would probably go into hiding for weeks if I ever heard it. I see myself as no more than a handmaid, offering here a space where those who want it, can discuss with each other their different understandings of their faith, and where, perhaps in a tiresomely girly way, I can say things about love which get some of the men here agitated because I don’t always remember to say that repentance comes first. That’s not me being obstinate, it’s me offering my reading. I see redemption coming in many ways, but I see it offered in the love of God for us. It was that love which made him reach out to miserable sinners like me and you; and when I think on that, I feel less of a miserable sinner and more inclined to ask myself in what ways I can be a better daughter of the Father? As my confessor would confirm, I am a great one for dwelling on my sins and enumerating them to the nth degree, but he says (and he’s right) that it’s better for me to remember why God loves me, ask what it is God loves in me, and then offer him more of that.

Does it ‘bother me’ that people have rejected God? Yes, as it does that so many have never heard anything about him and judge me and other Christians by the loudest voices in the public square, which tend to confirm their bias that we are all narrow and judgmental. My own testimony is a quieter one which reminds anyone who reads what I write that God is love. In my own experience, if you get that and respond to it, the other things such as repentance and trying to be better, follow because you have come into a relationship with the Holy Spirit. It may be a woman thing. I respond better to love and a relationship than a set of rules and a spiritual route march. I stand so in fear of judgment, so convinced of my unworthiness that I know I can only stand at all in His love. For the rest, those with other missions and testimonies will practice and give them here. Dear Neo calls me a Chatelaine, but in truth, at best, I am the girl who carries the water gourd in Gethsemane..