Kirk Braddan

The Vicar's Letter

From the April issue of Branch, the Kirk Braddan parish magazine


Was it coincidence that we espied a half-built hotel on the same day we watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? The connection between the two must surely indicate not.

The hotel is in a beauty spot overlooking the sea. Now, if I were to build a hotel by the sea I am fairly sure I would put the windows facing the water. Maybe I am alone in thinking the sea constitutes a nice view when eating your toast. Or it would add value to anyone staying the night.

But this hotel has been built at a right-angle, with a view over another building on one side and a car park on the other. It has no windows facing the sea. Baffling.

There might be a couple on the staircase as you go to your room, but even I could not charge extra for a sea-view if it meant kipping on the staircase.

What a waste of an opportunity. But the houses nearby are the same. It always strikes me how they face the wrong way too; looking down the road and not over the sea. Is there something going on which stops the planning committee from allowing buildings to face the sea?

But that night, Michael Gambon's magnificent Dumbledore said; "Soon we will need to choose between that which is right, and that which is easy." And the hotel came immediately to mind: the decision to build facing the wrong way must surely have been about what was easy rather than what was right.

Maybe there were limitations on the building's footprint and foundations, maybe how amenities like water and gas could be connected. But that is why architects are supposed to excel in imagination and creative design. Otherwise we all just live in boxes (which is the shape of the hotel …)

I cannot help but think the difference between that which was right and that which was easy was the motivation for ruining those buildings. If you have a prime piece of real estate you make the absolute most of it: give the punters a view!

But it appears that no-one – not the owner, architect, planning committee, even the builder – appeared to question whether it was right to face a different way. It may have required a new design, a bit more money, some patience and hard work, but if the end result is infinitely better, that is what you go for. Never settle for easy when you can do what is right.

Such was what faced Jesus&' disciples as they approached the Resurrection. The choices which had to be made between that which was easy (run and hide, not fight evil, deny you know God) were some of humanity's greatest failings. Were it not for God himself doing that which was right, restoring in us the boldness and confidence needed to do the right thing in life, we would always be defaulting to the easy option. What a disastrous world that would be.

When God gave us the lead example, we followed him out of that tomb to present the world with the new life where easy options are ignored by the brave and fearless.

In the life given to us by God we will search for how to make things right out of the opportunities we are given: the end of evil, relief from poverty, caring for the sick, the homeless, the lonely.

Building God's community is about seizing those opportunities. To make the best of our chances. To choose the view of the sea.

God bless