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Pastoral Letter

From the Rector - The Reverend Geoffrey Smith

1 October 2018

The American cabaret singer Peggy Lee had a song called “Is that all there is?” It’s one of those half-spoken, half-sung songs. The spoken verses draw little sketches from the singer’s life, each ending with the question she asks herself: “Is that all there is?”. Each time she replies by singing the chorus: “If that’s all there is, my friends, then let’s keep dancing, let’s break out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is.”

The first verse is about a house-fire from which she is saved when she is a little girl. “Is that all there is to fire?” The second, a circus with all the thrills and colourful spectacles, but from which she feels something is missing. “Is that all there is to a circus?” The third, a love affair with a young man who leaves her. “Is that all there is to love?”. Finally, she explains why she doesn’t just end it all, as she is in no hurry for what she calls “that final disappointment”. For, she adds, she knows that when that final moment comes and she breathes her last breath, she’ll be saying to herself – and here she goes straight into the chorus – “Is that all there is? Is that all there is….?”

Peggy Lee was singing the song of all those millions of people who seek meaning in life and don’t find it. People who are “bored”, who try to drown out the terrible nothingness by binge drinking or drugs or sex or any obsession that takes their minds off the emptiness. She sings their song.

The reply that Jesus gives to that question: “Is that all there is?” is a resounding “No”. He says there is so much more to life; there is what he calls “fullness of life”, a life that is eternal, and which we can receive by coming into a real relationship with God.

This ‘life eternal’ moreover is not just a future state it’s something that can be glimpsed in our world now. When we commit ourselves to the way of God we begin to see life and the world around us in a new way. God has touched so much of it with beauty, truth and love, despite the efforts of the human race to disfigure it with sin and selfishness.

So when we hear people complaining about life and asking “Is that all there is?”, we need to answer with confidence – “Absolutely not.”


From the registers:

Holy Baptism:
19th August – Charlotte Jane Knight at All Saints, Laughton
th September – Emily Anne Elizabeth Haas at St John the Baptist, Ripe.

Holy Matrimony:
25th August - David Seaman & Louisa O’Neill at All Saints, Laughton

5th September – Albert John Funnell RIP aged 88 yrs. at Hailsham Cemetery.