CHURCH NOTES: Escape route?

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By the Revd Colin James

What are we trying to escape?

If your answer is “nothing”, I am afraid I don’t believe you!

There are clearly situations where escaping is the right thing to do. Everyone is entitled to try to escape danger, poverty, disease, natural disasters and the like– the list could go on. But not all things are in these categories.

A TV programme helps people Escape to the Country, whilst a company “sponsors escapism on Channel 4”.

There is nothing particularly wrong about this. Indeed all entertainment is a form of escape, mostly innocent and healthy. And it would be rash to claim that there was nothing in life we should like to escape from.

But there is also much we need to face up to.

Escaping from reality does no one any good in the long run, especially if the escape takes the form of resorting to addictive habits. These by definition turn out themselves to be hard (even impossible) to escape from. So where then are we to turn?

Many would suggest to religious faith.

Yes, I know that others will echo Karl Marx in saying that religion is the opium of the people. And there is no denying that the powerful have used it to control others.

But true religion is no escape.

It is seeking and turning to reality, “the ground of our being”.

For there we can find a new kind of peace and love which make sense of life and call us to share them with others.

The Revd Colin James is an Honorary Priest at All Saints Church in Wokingham, writing on behalf of Churches Together Wokingham

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