Being at Home – Eastertide Reflection 23

By The Rt Revd Sarah Clark, Bishop of Jarrow

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Today marks the start of Christian Aid week and our reflections this week will be focusing more widely on those we share our earth with.

This is the week when people usually give generously in prayer and financially to Christian Aid’s work with the poorest and most vulnerable people in 37 countries.

This week up and down the country events would have been held, envelopes delivered, worship planned to culminate in worship that helps us remember we have brothers and sisters all over the world who we are connected to. 

This week it is still possible to give generously even in the midst of a pandemic. On their website, there are pray pointers, worship suggestions, e envelopes to give by, sofa fundraising, virtual ways to donate and all safely.  Their motto this year proclaims

‘Love never fails. Coronavirus impacts all of us. But love unites us.     

Christian Aid week makes us lift our gaze beyond our own shores, our own pressing concerns and struggles to the world that has largely vanished from our news. 

I was personally challenged to lift my gaze by this painting.  Each night I say Compline, sitting opposite this painting.  It is by a Yemeni artist bought when I was in Yemen years ago. I remember well a beautiful, ancient, vibrant country, with multi-story houses perched precariously on high hills with deep drops, and Sanaa the ancient capital was the jewel in the crown.  Now, of course, Yemen has been devastated by war, famine, with now the Coronavirus, which impacts us all. There is no shielding there.

As I gazed on the painting I found myself wondering how they will cope with Corvid 19 in the rubble of their hospitals and their lives.  Then I remembered that I had had an envelope from tear Fund for an emergency Appeal for Yeman – I can give and pray and remember them.  I am sure that each of us has a picture somewhere in our homes that speaks of a place we must not forget in our own troubles.

These are homes on the edge of the mountain.  Homes have been very important to all of us these past months. But what makes a home – a door to close safely, people to share with, clean water to drink, a toilet that works, food in our cupboards, birdsong around us, crops to sow something to cook with, a place to sleep without fear? 

The work of Christian Aid seeks to help the poorest be at home in the world we share just as we are. In John’s gospel Jesus is speaking about his Father’s home, and the place he is preparing for those who love him. 

Christian Aid works so that people can be at home in this world as well as at home with the Father now and in the age to come.

We are still global citizens sharing a home on this earth even though the planes are grounded. So, this Christian Aid week remember

 ‘Love never fails. Coronavirus impacts all of us. But love unites us.   

 

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