Surrounded by suffering

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From the Manse........

These past few weeks the news headlines that have come to us via our televisions, newspapers and internet feeds have been tragic, frightening and disturbing. We have graphically seen how lives have been lost and communities devastated by ferocious fires, severe flooding and sudden earthquake as well as the on-going Covid pandemic. Then there has been those acts of indiscriminate violence and terrorism, the increase in hostility towards those who are somehow different and, as I write this, the rapidly unfolding situation in Afghanistan.

In addition, there is the messiness of our own personal situations that we are dealing with which, by themselves, can so often threaten to overwhelm us.

As people of faith, how do we react to all that is happening around us and how do we respond? What can we say that doesn't end up being more than just a platitude?

I'd want to say that we need to own our emotional responses to what we see and how they make us feel. We need to name our fears and worries, our distress and sorrow and our alarm and anxiety; for to pretend otherwise is to belittle the reality of what is happening and its effects upon us.

Also, it is okay to cry out in lament and in pain at the suffering of others and ourselves. It is natural and understandable to want to shout at God and rant at the injustice of it all and acknowledge our feelings of impotence and helplessness in the midst of such .

We need to pray. To pray for those who find themselves caught up in the midst of all that is going on, as well as for those who are seeking to help, deliver aid, rescue those who are in danger.

We need to act and to seek to make a difference. We need to play our part whether through donating goods and clothing to refugee charities or changing our consumer habits in the light of the destruction wrought by climate change, we must do what we can. We need to challenge our politicians and leaders. To hold them accountable for not only their words and actions but also their inaction and silence.

We should, through acts of kindness and generosity, seek to make a difference each and every day, to do what we can and what is in our power to help to transform the world, in the busyness of our daily lives.

Above all we need to hold on to our faith in God. In the one who through the pain and suffering on the cross, reconciled all things to himself and who does not abandon his people in times of need but is to be found alongside them in their sufferings.

We pray for God's world and ourselves even as we seek to make the world a better place.

With love and God Bless

Keith

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