Thought for the Day by Jan Betts (All Hallows’)
Today the wise men finally make it to the end of their journey, to worship the Christ child, with gifts and adoration. As T S Eliott wrote in ‘The journey of the Magi’ (and before him, in 1622, Lancelot Andrewes) ‘A cold coming they had of it, just the worst time of the year’. It’s cold in Bethlehem in December too, even snowy sometimes, and they had had to be persistent, faithful to their vision and just plain dogged sometimes. You can listen to Eliott reading it here.
Non Jews, Gentiles – like us! – were led by the Spirit to recognise and respond with persistent hope to the place of Love come into the world. It’s not a Headingley/Hyde Park story but I was very moved to read about the Sikh community among many others in Kent bringing food to stranded lorry drivers in Kent before Christmas. Sikh communities in Leeds have also been providing food weekly in Leeds city centre, and the Grand Mosque in Hyde Park are doing Love-in-a-box for those self isolating regardless of faith and are contributing to Rainbow Junktion. Really effective community links are being built between a number of different local organisations in Hyde Park around food and other support, and we hope these will last into the future to make all our community efforts stronger. We act out of our different beliefs and motivations, but sharing resources and caring for those less well off can bring us together to work for the world based on love which Jesus shows us.
Staying hopeful on the journey is sometimes tough. It can be psychologically chilly, seemingly endless despite vaccine hope, and physically dull. But communities steadily and creatively working together are providing the small growths which will hopefully be reflected on a larger scale in our country. This picture is of a small patch of plastic strewn trampled ground in Headingly but look closely and some bulbs are beginning to show which will be amazing in two or three months.
‘Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.’ ‘ May we have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is’ – and be hopeful.