We’ve been catching up with the comedy series, Rev.
If you’ve not seen it before, the BBC series revolves around a Church of England priest called Adam, played by the talented and watchable Tom Hollander, who becomes the vicar of an inner-city London church after leaving a small rural Suffolk parish.
Last night, we watched an episode where the local church school is up for religious inspection and the headteacher, Ellie, is confident that they will pass with flying colours, thanks to the inspiring new teacher Mr Feld. The only problem for Adam is… he’s an atheist (albeit an ‘angry’ but popular and cool one).
This particular clip I thought was genius. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00m7qnz
I’ve no qualms about other people’s beliefs and in fact I am interested in learning more about them; I certainly don’t mind if people have no belief at all, many of my friends and family are atheists or agnostic. Belief is just that – what someone believes – a personal point of view. Perhaps it is all ‘hogwash’ and, in the end, that’s it… nothing. But, if we’re honest, by then it will be too late to matter who is proven right or wrong. Just like Adam in the series, I sit firmly on the side that says ‘yes, isn’t this world and life itself entirely improbable, impossible and miraculous, thanks be to God!’ To me, my beliefs will influence how I will spend eternity.
However, just as I have drawn so much comfort from my faith since Abi’s death, I also spare a thought for those who have lost or battled with theirs due to terminal ill-health, victimisation by others, or death – some truly terrible things happen to people every day and I appreciate that it’s these very events which are more likely to turn people from God, rather than towards Him. To lose a child would certainly make one wonder what kind of God would allow that to happen… and find it hard to forgive Him. I know all too well that sometimes things go wrong for us, very heartbreakingly wrong. It’s natural to wonder if our prayers are listened to. But He is there to hold us up, to support us during the good times and the bad. I believe God gives the gift of life, but not that He ‘takes’ people back, good or bad, just because He wants them. He loves us all and is willing to offer us eternal life, when it’s our time.
I don’t blame God for my situation, although I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t questioned it and been very troubled about why this has happened to us. It may well be that He abandoned me, as I had abandoned Him, but I realised – for myself – that He never abandoned me at all. I am, in fact, thankful that the result of my soul-searching is not a weaker but a stronger relationship with God.
After Abi died, an acquaintance rather flippantly said: ‘I’d believe in God too if something like that happened to me, you’d have to.’ But it’s far more than having a belief simply because I want to feel better about my child dying. I have felt Him with me too many times to question He does anything but love and care for me. I’m far from a model Christian and certainly don’t profess to have all the answers, but, while I seek to do better, to learn and grow with my faith, I know that Abi is safe.
The Rev TV episode was able to portray two opposing viewpoints so simply yet so well. If you can find this full episode, I’d recommend watching it.
At the very end of the show, there is a poignant moment when the atheist teacher dies in an accident and Adam gives an assembly to his class of children and tells them the Waterbugs and Dragonflies story, which we chose to be read out at Abi’s funeral. He wasn’t impressing his beliefs on them, but simply saying that when we die we go on to something more beautiful and peaceful than we can ever possibly imagine. How I didn’t cry I don’t know…
This prayer, which I have also blogged, can bring comfort when faced with loss – Comfort in Loss