Monday, 2 September 2013

Tokens of Trust


Tokens of Trust by Rowan Williams

I have been deeply jolted to the importance of the role of trust in my life and the cost when trust has been missing. Many years ago I spent a long time at the top of a cliff roped and secured being encouraged to abseil over the edge to the bottom a number of feet below. No matter how much my highly competent friend encouraged me to trust him and the equipment, I could not. During the same period of my life it was my job to service the fire service turntable ladders, which meant climbing 100 feet to the top of them. This I did many times never without a sense of anticipation, trusting the mechanics and workmanship that had been carried out. But it is with people where trust is cashed out or held back, reaping rewards or crippling relationships.

I think the book has jolted me to understand my role as a professional truster
 As a stipended priest I am called to model to, and with, my community my profession of trust. As I reflect upon 13 years of my life lived in this community when trust has been at its best between us we have done something for the kingdom, not much but something.  It is true we have different levels of trust in our communities.  There is no one in my community that I trust more than my wife. I have trusted to her everything; my poverty, my fragile passionate love, my now and my future, most of my secrets and all of my hopes.  I would not inflict that weight of trust on anyone else the cost is too high.
Some of the relationships I have had in the parish have been fleeting but trusting. Strangers have trusted me with their secrets, others with their weddings, baptisms and funerals: Precious moments of privileged trust.
Others have not trusted, a working relationship yes, but not trust. I wonder when there is no trust then comes fear and self-reliance. I am aware when my trust is at its least I rely upon what I know and can do. And nothing much is built or done. Willams’ book reminds me the Father trusts creation to its people, the Father trusts the Son with the kingdom, the Father entrusts a fragile Church with the Holy Spirit. Jesus trusts us enough to go home to the Father.

I am asking myself why have some not trusted me and opted for something else, fear and control.  The lack of trust results in relationships that are fragile and unfruitful. I have noticed when trust is not common currency the phrase “God has told” (me) is used. Reflecting on the gospels I am not sure Jesus ever says “God told me”. It is the most non-Christian phrase in use today. It is used by fundamentalist to attack and disarm the enemy because there is no trust.

Some of my most painful experiences have been were trust has been broken. My natural tendency is to withdrawal my trust and be more self-reliant. But in the long term as the professional Truster I am not afforded that for long, because it cripples me. If I cannot trust my community how can I trust God?  I thank God for Willams’ jolt to remind me that to trust is not easy; not to trust is the other kingdom. Trinity 14 2013