I write this letter at the end of a tumultuous week in American politics and national life – the Capitol Building was stormed by Trump supporters! It was a shocking event – even viewed from this side of the Atlantic – highlighting a deeply divided nation and raising the question how will healing and reconciliation ever be brought about? Divisions and inequalities of one kind or another across the world have also been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Such divisions and inequalities can be dangerous and toxic things and particularly when people or groups of people are sought to blame for them.
There is a saying that goes like this, ‘We can live without God but not without a devil’, meaning that as human beings we are always seeking to find a scapegoat – someone or some group of people that we can make the ‘other’ – an individual or group that we can hate so that we can feel better about ourselves and the group to which we believe we belong.
This is not the Christian way. We believe in a God who in Christ gave his life for all, out of love for all, and that we are called to show that same quality of love to all.
We currently live in a world where there are many loud voices calling us to label, divide, separate, and hate. Brian Bilston’s poem, Refugee, shows us another way if we are just willing to see things differently:-
They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way
(now re-read this time from bottom to top)
On the 17th February Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time when we above all else seek to see things from a different perspective – God’s! As we journey through Lent in this most challenging of years my prayer is that each one of us better learns that we can’t live without God and the reality of His view of the world – the other way round, upside down view.
Yours in Christ