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Lenten reflections – Falling Upwards – the journey of life

We’ve just been through a hard time, where a loved one was told she would have to have surgery for what looked like a life threatening illness.  The whole family was turned upside down. Living on different continents did not help; feeling inadequate at a distance. Flights, accommodation, tests and surgery would not come cheap.  Getting time off work to be there, worrying about how she would cope with surgery, the long term prognosis and how we were going to support her and fund her treatment was exhausting.  The emotional and financial stress took its toll. As Christian’s we put the situation in God’s hands, got the pray warriors praying but despite a deep trust in God the underlying question as to “why” rose its ugly head.

I’m sure all of you have been in a similar situation, you may even be in it now, where a loved one is suffering. So why does God allow it? I’m certainly not one of those people who believe suffering is a punishment for sin, after all Jesus died to wash away our sin.  Perhaps we can talk about the fall of mankind and that sickness is now just part of life in our mortal bodies. We can talk of the laws of the natural universe and suffering being the result of the decisions of mankind. But why does a loving God allow His children to go through such physical and emotional trauma when he could step in?

Sukri, Purulia Snehalaya (3)

Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest, his book “Falling Upwards” got me thinking about the meaning of life and the part that suffering plays in it.

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Rohr says life can be viewed in two stages, the length of these stages vary between people and some, even followers of faith, never reach the second stage.  The first stage of life is largely about striving for success.  We all try to do what seems like the task that has been given us. We establish our identity, home, relationships, friends, career and build our platform for life.  Part of this involves building our ego, our self-esteem and putting on a façade for the outside world that shows us as being the things that society, colleagues, family and friends expect of us. We respond to the expectations of the world, or perhaps as Christians to what is expected by the church or other Christians. We may strive to follow the Bible to do what is right.

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But life is not rosy, we often feel inadequate, unable to live up to the expectations of others. As we strive for success or even trying to live a good life we realise that there are barriers in our way, we are not perfect and problems and suffering are integral to life, often removing the joy of living.

So we are back to the “why” question. Why does God let His children experience tragedy, sorrow and pain? Look back over your life and think about the times when you have been closest to God, when you have grown the most, spiritually.  Is it during the times of joy or time times of sorrow?  My experience has certainly been that when things are going well I feel like I can cope on my own, God is in the joy, but it’s not necessarily the time when I put my greatest trust in Him. But when problems arise or I have done something wrong, that’s the time I go into prayer overdrive and rely on God for help. And it’s definitely during the hard times that I have seen the most spiritual growth.

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Yet the human ego prefers anything but falling, changing and dying.  It likes the status quo.  We don’t like it when our plans for life are spoiled, when things go wrong; when problems arise that turn our life upside down.

However, perhaps we are looking at things from the wrong viewpoint, with a worldview instead of God’s view. Perhaps it’s not the problem that is the problem, it’s how we view the situation and respond to it.  How about turning it on its head and thinking about our “when things go wrong” moments being God’s way to enable us to grow, giving us an opportunity to move from the first stage of life to the second, a life where we are able to experience our true self (and not just the container) and to be in union with Him.

During the recent family health issues, realisation dawned that the ‘problems’ that upset our plans of a pleasant life may actually be God’s plan for us.  I’m not saying that God necessarily sends us suffering, more that he can use the suffering we experience for our benefit and His glory.  “God turns all things together for good for those who love Him.” Romans 8:28. If we respond to the trials of life by learning from them, by being open to how God wants to work in a situation and by trusting him we can ‘fall upwards’ and begin our journey into the second part of life.

Thomas Merton, an American monk, said “We may spend our whole life climbing the ladder of success, only to find when we get to the top that the ladder was against the wrong wall.”

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In Falling Upwards, Rohr says that the first part of life involves building the container the second part of life is finding the content that is to fill it. The container is not the end in itself but exists for the sake of a deeper and fuller life.  Many people spend their time repairing their container, trying to be a better person, but they never dip their nets into the deep and bring in the huge catch that awaits them (John 21:6).

However, to bring in what God has in store for us, to be filled with the ‘new wine’, we need to learn to get out of the driving seat and give up control to the real guide. We need to be willing to fall, to lose what is precious to us, in order to gain the amazing life that God has planned for us.  In the spiritual world we do not find something until we first lose it.  Take the parables of the lost coin, sheep and son (Luke 15). We do not truly appreciate something until it has been lost and then found. It’s when things have been taken away, when the problems and challenges arise that we realise who we are in God and who God is in us.

The second part of the journey of life happens only when we are led to the limits of our present game plan and find it insufficient. It’s not until we fall that we realise that what we have built is not in fact what life is truly about.  Only then do we search out the real source, the deep well, the constantly flowing stream, the living water.

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When we realise, not just in the head and the heart but in the soul, that we cannot fix, control, explain, change or even understand everything, when we are willing to lose our life as we know it, we will in fact gain it.  Through the problems and trials, if we are open to Him, God will show Himself and fill us with his love, showing us our true selves and the way to be in total union with Him.

Matthew 16:26 says “Anyone who wants to save his life must lose it. Anyone who loses her life will find it. What gain is there to win the whole world if you lose your very self? What can you offer in exchange for your life?”

Only by losing our false self, the image of success and perfection that we show to the world, can we find our true self.  It is through the times of suffering that God helps us along that journey.  Eternal life does not begin at death; we reach our spiritual home when we are our true self in God. We don’t have to be dead to live!  But it is a long journey and until we choose to take it we will be homesick, experiencing restlessness, loneliness, sadness and longing. The good news is we don’t have to do it alone, the Holy Spirit is our guide and will help us to reach our destination. But we have to choose to step out into the second journey of life.

The journey, I am told, is a lot different to the first. Priorities are different; we gaze at life through a different lens. We experience the gift of wisdom, can share it with others and fulfill what God has planned for us – a special union with Him where we are able to be our true selves as God has created us and He can use us to his glory.

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So how does this fit with the health issues of my loved one?  Well after further tests it was found that it was not cancer, that surgery would not be needed. It was a miracle of healing but through the “problem” God showed us that He can do more that we can even comprehend. We prayed for timely surgery, he removed the need for it altogether. He used the situation to move us closer towards our second journey. He needed to help us to put more trust in Him, to realise our dependence on Him, to strengthen our relationship and love for Him. And through the healing, He enabled us to experience together the most overwhelming sense of joy as we recognised the blessings of family and health and most importantly of a God who loves us and wants what is best for us.

Falling is not easy, it hurts, but falling upwards, into God’s loving arms is the place where we can feel the greatest ever comfort, joy and peace.

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Conversations at the Mosque – Islam v Christianity

During my visit to Bahrain I took the tour of Al Fateh Grand Mosque. I was asked to dress in a Hijab and was shown around the building.

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My guide was a young lady called Faiza who had such a sweet humble nature, it was a pleasure to talk to her. She had a profound love of God and a desire to serve him and dedicate her life to him.  She was keen to share her faith and I mine.

FaizaI took the opportunity to learn from her more about Islam, to learn about what Muslims believe about Jesus, our similarities and differences, and to share with her about the Christian faith. We had a long conversation and I liked and respected her very much, in different circumstances I think we could have become good friends. So what did I learn? That Muslims believe that:

  • There is only one God and our first commandment is to serve Him (although Islam does not attribute a gender to God) and then to serve others
  • Abraham had direct communication with God and Abraham, Moses, David, John the Baptist are among the prophets
  • Jesus was born of a virgin and was God’s messenger, the messiah who was foretold in Jewish scriptures
  • Mary was a very special women, chosen by God
  • Jesus healed the sick, raised people from the dead and was without sin
  • There will be a second coming of Christ, which will be a time of judgement.
  • We can communicate directly with God through prayer, we don’t need priests or rabbi as intercessors
  • There are angels who God uses as messengers

So far so good. But then the difference were shared. Faiza stated that for Muslims:

  • The trinity is regarded as blasphemy as there is only one God – and that Jesus never claimed to be God – he was human not divine
  • Mohammed was prophesied in the Bible, the Holy Spirit Christians refer to as the Comforter that Jesus promised is believed to be Muhammad.
  • Jesus did not die on the cross, he was still alive when taken up into heaven
  • The Bible, although it contains words of truth from the direct words of the prophets (including Jesus) has been change and manipulated and is not all the Word of God.
  • That Muslims are the great nation promised in Genesis from the descendants of Ishmael and it was Ishmael that was sacrificed not Isaac.
  • The Quran is the unadulterated Word of God and Muhammad the last of the prophets.

I started with our common beliefs then explained about how Jesus died to reunite mankind to God, so that our sins could be forgiven.  That God was not just a God of justice but a God of love.  I encouraged Faiza to read the Bible and she quietly encouraged me to read the Quran.  We had a difference of opinion but I think we both recognised and respected that we were followers of the creator and working towards a better world.

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It was an interesting discussion but as I was about to leave the mosque a woman who worked there approached me to explain about Mecca and the Kaaba.  When Faiza shared that I knew a lot about the Bible, the women proceeded to cast fierce accusations on Christians, stating the Bible had twisted the truth and that it contained many errors.  She gave the example of Genesis 21 when Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away, showing that the Bible says Hagar carried the boy on her shoulders (when the text shows he must of been about 17 years old).  How was this possible?  If there were errors like this she complained how can we trust it.  I was ashamed that I did not know enough about that passage to give her an answer.

She claimed that God had brought me to the mosque that day to hear the truth of Islam, that this is the truth that would set me free??? And that if I did not respond to the one and only God, and reject beliefs about Jesus being God, I would be confined to hell.  Wow!!  Such a different approach to the humble loving kindness showed by Faiza and much more reminiscent of the nature of conflict prophesied for Ishmael in Genesis 16:12.

“And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” (King James Version)

It made me realise that I need to go back to scripture and also understand more about Islam so I can clearly justify my beliefs.  I started today by looking at Genesis 21 and the opinion of Hebrew scholars on verses 8-15. It became clear the problems with translation, something Faiza referred to.  If you go back to the original Hebrew it looks as though the punctuation in many modern translations is wrong and that instead of:

14   So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of
     water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, 
     along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, 
     and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.
15   When the water in the skin was gone, 
     she cast the child under one of the bushes.

It should read:

So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. And the water in the skin was used up, and she placed the boy under one of the shrubs.

(Genesis 21:14-15) New King James version.

To read more about this literal translation of this passage click here

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Wesleys – founders of Methodism

My understanding of Methodism has been rather limited, experienced until recently only through interdenominational services in my youth.  My teenage observations were that there seemed to be a greater emphasis on the Bible and preaching (longer bible readings and sermons than in our church) and less of a focus on the sacrament, with greater engagement of lay people in ministry.

As a new board member of the Methodist Relief and Development Fund, I thought I had better find out a little more about Methodism.  I grew up worshiping in an Anglican church so I’m well versed in the words of Charles Wesley, singing many of his hymns during my time in the choir.

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Favourites include:

And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the Savior’s blood!
Died he for me? who caused his pain!
For me? who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
   And the famous wedding hymn….
 
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
But what of the other brother, John, and the principles of Methodism?  This week, while I was visiting London I stumbled upon the Wesley Chapel and Wesley’s House (free entry) and took some time to explore.
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John was born in Epworth in Lincolnshire in 1703, the 15th child of parents Samuel and Susanna (buried opposite the Wesley Chapel in Bunhill Fields Burial Ground).  Samuel was the Rector, so John experienced life in the church from a young age. Educated at Charterhouse School in London and then Oxford University, he was ordained as an Anglican deacon (1725) and priest (1728) at Christ Church Cathedral, and became a tutor and Fellow of Lincoln College.  He was a member of the ‘Holy Club’, a group of like-minded people who disciplined piety, but it was not until 1738 that he had a spiritual experience that convinced him of his salvation through Christ and made him want to preach the Good News. John Wesley is estimated to have travelled 250,000 miles in 50 years to preach the gospel.
Perhaps one of the most famous quotes of Wesley is:
“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can
To all the people you can
As long as ever you can!”
He was committed to preaching a gospel that stood up for living a life based on scripture and standing up against injustice. He would start his day with prayer and devotions for at least an hour.
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Christianity was not something to be kept within the four walls of the church, but to reach out to others, particularly those in need, bringing them the love of Christ.  He placed an emphasis on personal faith and holiness. Justification by faith, forgiveness and redemption through Jesus Christ, was the essence of his theology. Sanctification (defined in terms of “pure or disinterested love”), is found through the Holy Spirit. Its characteristics are to love God and one’s neighbour as oneself; to be meek and lowly in heart, having the mind which was in Christ Jesus; to abstain from all appearance of evil, walking in all the commandments of God; to be content in every state, doing all to the glory of God.
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This is the foundation for the Methodist interest in helping the poor and promoting social justice and Wesley led by example. During his time at Oxford, he took courses in basic medicine and first aid and ventured into London during much of his free time to work with the poor, providing medical aid where he could.  Wesley and his Methodists worked hard to raise the money to provide food and clothing for the poor.  He introduced interest-free loans to the poor in London and Methodists devoted themselves to helping the poor to find jobs.   In a time and place in which many viewed poverty and sickness as an indicator of the worth of the individual, Wesley preached God’s love for all mankind and demanded unrestricted love for one’s neighbour. Long before the Quakers introduced anti-slavery legislation to Parliament, Wesley was convinced that slavery was an atrocious blot upon mankind.  In 1774, Wesley wrote Thoughts upon Slavery, presenting his case for abolition.  Wesley’s staunch opposition to slavery heavily influenced abolitionist members of Parliament such as William Wilberforce.

Wesley’s famous Sermon 50: The Use of Money, stated ”gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can,” demanding his followers be good stewards of their wealth.  In fact, Wesley earned quite a bit of money from his published writings, and yet lived and died in relative poverty.

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But this life of preaching and service took a toll on his family life.  Wesley and Mary Vazeille, a well-to-do widow and mother of four children, were married in 1751. By 1758 she had left him—unable to cope, it is said, with the competition for his time and devotion presented by the ever-burgeoning Methodist movement. Molly, as she was known, was to return and leave him again on several occasions before their final separation. Due to her husband’s constant travels, Molly felt increasingly neglected.
In 1778 he built the Wesley Chapel and the house next to it where he lived until he died in March 1791.
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Despite John Wesley’s claim ‘I live and die a member of the Church of England’, by the time of his death the Methodist movement (which, by then, was largely associated with John Wesley) had grown apart from the national church.
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He is buried in the grounds of the Wesley Chapel, but has left a long legacy behind him of Methodism, people who walk in the footsteps of Christ, caring for the poor and standing up for injustice.
If you want to carry one the work of Wesley how about starting by studying the Bible, showing kindness to your neighbour and making a donation to the work of the Methodist Relief and Development Fund?
 
 

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Experiencing Reality – Communion with God

As a Christian, it is one thing to promise to obey God, it’s yet another to understand clearly what He is saying so that you can be obedient. Evelyn Underhill’s book ‘Practical Mysticism’ has helped me to understand how to start to become more open to what God has to say and live my life accordingly.

To fulfill our purpose in the world we need to be open to God’s voice and guidance, and to live in communion with Him. Only then will we get a glimpse of the awe inspiring wonders of His reality, His will and His wisdom.

So how do we do this?

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Firstly we need to have a willingness to learn more about God, to be one with Him and ask Him to reveal His wisdom.

The next step towards experiencing Reality, which could also be described as have true communion with God, is Meditationwiping away our turmoil of thoughts and focusing on experiences of the senses, giving space for God to reveal his will to us. For example, focusing on an idea such as joy or an object such as a flower and being in awe of its beauty created by the hand of the Almighty….

Water lilies

or meditating on a symbol of faith and letting God speak to us through it

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or a verse of scripture, spending at least a quarter of an hour, without distraction or invasion of other thoughts.

Thinkers and analysts may find this immensely difficult, whereas those with greater sensory appreciation such as artists may find it a little easier.  However, to begin on the road to communion with God we need to regularly practice mediation, i.e. holding concentration on a single idea or object without distraction. As our meditation becomes deeper it will help us defend against the assaults of the outside world.

The next stage is using times of quiet for Recollection, contemplating ourselves face to face, revealing our true motives – stripped and measured against eternal values, our unacknowledged indulgences and irrational loves and hates.  When we see who we really are in comparison to the model of Christ we will be compelled to remodel our existence.  The light dawns….

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We have been accustomed to the idea that we want or ought to want certain valueless things, status and power.  Our treasures have become material things and we are chained to longing for things of this world. But as we recollect we gain a glimpse of something other, something special, the land of peace, the heart of God and as we spend brief moments in communion we are enticed with every fibre of our being to be part of it. Yet to reach it we need to prise ourselves away from the old comfortable life of the material world, like a limpet being detached, we must sever old habits, old prejudices and self-interest. “Selfhood must be killed before Reality can be attained.”

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Meditating on scripture, God can use His Word to highlight what it wrong in our life, correcting our values and behaviour; He can work in us to break the bonds of sin and draw us to Himself. This remodelling of character is known as Purgation or Detachment, it’s a slow process that does not happen overnight, so we need persistence and patience. The chief ingredients of this new life are love, courage, singleness of heart and self-control.

So through meditation the mind is quietened from the buzz of the outside world and through recollection and purgation the heart is re-orientated. It can be a painful process, but as we gain brief visions of ‘beauty’ and ‘the land of peace’ we long for Communion with God, so our will becomes to do the will of God and we begin to develop a more intensively loving heart.

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This process changes two things in our attitude towards life. The first is that we become more observant, we perceive a truer universe and then, released from obsessions that have governed our heart, will and mind, we are able, in union with the spirit, to pour forth love.

Take the example of a homeless man on the street. Whereas before we may have made judgmental assumptions and walked on by, now we are struck with humble compassion. We are now observant and touched by the person in need, a person created by God in His image. We cannot walk passed without at least praying for this person through which we can then be open to what God has to say about how we respond.  Is it to give a friendly smile and pop some money in his pot? To stop and talk? To buy him a coffee or food? Or some other action of kindness?  Whichever way, whereas before we may not even have noticed the man or just given him a brief glance, now God has instilled in us His love for this person and a realisation that to be one with Him and to do His will means doing acts of compassion and being a blessing to others.

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James 2:14-16 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Because ultimately, following the will of God is walking with Him and showing His love in the world.

These are just the first few steps towards communion with God and understanding the ultimate Reality; but they are steps that will change our life and will bless others.

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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Church, Reflections

 

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Treasures

In this hectic world we are often heard to say that there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things we want to do. Sound familiar?

Are you a workaholic? Is there so much to do at the office that there is no time to take a day out with family and friends or to go home early and have fun together?

What about time for stillness with God?  Is life is too busy to have a quiet time every day, to take time to appreciate God’s creation, to read His word, pray, praise and listen?

How do you spend your well earned money? On a nice house, expensive cars, designer clothes, jewellery and those other little luxuries? Do you tithe or is there not enough left to help those in need?

This scenario seems to resemble my life…. caught up in the rat race with a worldly view of the importance of being appreciated for what I do and being surrounded by nice things – my earthly treasures.

But during the last two weeks I have been challenged by the following scriptures from Luke’s gospel:

The Parable of the Rich Young Fool (Luke 12:13-21), where Jesus warns of the dangers of greed and storing up earthly possessions. The farmer plans to build bigger barns to store up his earthly treasures.

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Well if we are not farmers we might not be building barns, but our barns might take other forms… what are yours?

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Large houses, cars, expensive jewellery, designer clothes….. Are these our treasures we are storing up on earth?

But Jesus warns that we can’t take these things with us. We might enjoy them for a while, but their pleasure does not last. When our time is up what will matter is not the earthly treasures we have stored up, but the way we have lived our life. As my previous blog Feeling the pain asks us to consider, did we used the resources God has given us to bless others, to help the poor or just for our own pleasure?

However, I don’t think this passage is just about material wealth, after saying how God will provide for us, in verse 34 Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, your heart will be also”.

What is your treasure? What do you value most? Surely a good indication of this is how we spend not only our money, but also our time.

Is work my treasure? If so, should it be?

This passage called me to question how much I really value my family and friends if I am so engrossed in work that I have no time to spend with them.  What do I value more – relationships or work?  Clearly we are not all called to give up our jobs, we have mortgages to pay and people to provide for. Our work can be a way of serving God. But even so, perhaps we can keep a better balance.

We prioritise the things that are truly important to us, our treasure. If we truly value something or someone, we will make time for them because that is where we want to be.  For where our treasure is our heart will be also.

This made me realise that I did not have time to spend with God not because life was too hectic, but because a quiet time was not my priority.  I managed to find time to work extra hours at the office, to go shopping, surf the net and watch movies.  That’s not saying that these things are wrong, or that we should not do them, rather that there is a need to consider what we truly value in life. With our treasures identified it is then time to rebalance life so that time is spent building heavenly treasures and not just earthly one.

That’s the theory, now the hard bit… time to live it out in practice….

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Reflections

 

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Feeling their pain

How do you respond when you see an appeal on the TV or have a letter through your door asking you to give money to those in need?

Does the fact that these people are on often on the other side of the world make their suffering less real to us?

Is it that we are so engrossed in our life of relative luxury, with a house, electricity, running water, car, TV, computer, food in the cupboard, that we can’t comprehend that other people could really be suffering in the way being described?

As caring human beings, who I’m sure would feed a starving child who turned up on our doorstep, why do we not respond more generously when these appeals are made?  Are our hearts touched by their pain or do we have compassion fatigue?

In my work I am taken to many poverty stricken communities where I support the development of programmes to help transform people’s lives and bring them out of poverty.  Leprosy and disability are huge issues in the majority of these communities.

Leprosy is not a disease confined to biblical times, a quarter of a million new cases are diagnosed each year. Although easily treated with a course of Multi-Drug Therapy, if left untreated it can lead to nerve damage that results in severe disability. However, it is not just the physical effects of the disease that are a problem.  Leprosy is surrounded by such stigma that people are often thrown out of their communities, lose their job, are refused entrance to school or excluded from social gatherings.  Life becomes almost unbearable.

I meet so many people who have tragic stories to tell that I have used ‘focusing on the problem’ rather than ‘the person’ as a protection mechanism to enable me to cope with the challenges of working with communities in such abject poverty.

But God says:

Lamentations 2:18-19

18 Zion, deep in your heart
you cried out to the Lord.
Now let your tears overflow
your walls day and night.
Don’t ever lose hope
or let your tears stop.
19 Get up and pray for help
all through the night.
Pour out your feelings
to the Lord,
as you would pour water
out of a jug.
Beg him to save your people,
who are starving to death
at every street crossing.

God wants us to open our hearts and feel their pain.  When we see a picture of a child collecting leaves to eat as she has no other food, like in a leprosy community I visited recently in South Sudan……

Angeeth (8) collecting leaves for dinner

should our response be, oh that’s sad, or should we be moved to tears praying for that child and her community and giving as generously as we are able to bring life and hope to those in need?

These verses in Lamentations have certainly challenged me…. I must soften my heart, feel their pain and do all I can through prayer, voice and deed to make a difference.  Jesus was a radical who stood up against injustice, if we are to walk in his footsteps we can’t stay silent or do nothing.  We have to act. We are God’s hands and feet, He works through us, so we have to respond!

As we think about those affected by leprosy around the world, let us also meditate on what God says about giving, and pray that he will touch our hearts to give generously to those in need.

Rebecca Kiden Gotich and children (4)

Acts 20:35  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Leprosy affected feet (2)

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Mary Nidienga Chuck (3)

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Madelina 11 and Rebecca 7 by their house distance

1 John 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Mary Nyandeya (3)

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Nyan Awor Dod Kurwell with baby Ayak (3)

James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Leprosy, Reflections

 

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