Here Within These Walls

Last night we watched Sister Act in Norwich – an excellent show! Deloris Cartier, a loud, brash, night-club singer witnesses a murder. She’s taken, for her protection, to live in a convent…

In this song she’s introduced to Mother Superior who explains the convent’s rules and philosophy.

Outside, life’s a mess.
No one’s pure of spirit any longer.
There’s no wrong or right,
Just wrong and wronger…

But here within these walls,
Days are filled with grace.
God is in his place,
His wisdom still respected…

Outside the convent was wickedness, sin and god-lessness; inside was peace, harmony and God.

Some Christian friends have this view of a church community. ‘Here within these walls’ people have it right. Tough, strong walls keep the good in and the bad out.

We also see this principle in ‘good schools’, sports teams, family life, Brexit… strong walls protect the good and exclude the bad.

Jon Yates in ‘Fractured’ describes how we choose to spend time with ‘people like me’ – who share our views and outlook on life… people who live within our walls. It reinforces our views. It’s a secure place to be.

Spending less time with people who are different from us we become disconnected from them. Divisions by education, income, class, ethnicity and age grow.

Yates says that we should spend more time with people unlike ourselves. By doing things together we become more understanding, tolerant, and friendly. Overcoming our divisions we become united in diversity.

Deloris and Mother Superior discover just this. Even though their worlds are very different, both learn from each other and are finally united in their diversity. Both start as proud, believing they know it all… but both gain humility, empathy, wisdom…

In recent years… I’ve benefited so much from friends who are very different from me… children and elderly, very well off and financially struggling, those with addictions, dementia, bereavement, a different faith… those who live outside my walls… I trust I’ve gained humility, empathy, wisdom…

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