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On yesterday’s wander around Fountains Abbey this weathered multi-hued wall caught my eye. Today’s Sunday message took in Pink Floyd’s bleak “just another brick in the wall” along with Isaiah’s call to be rebuilders and overcomes of injustice. #beautifulstones #uniquelyshaped #weathered #acidrain #fountainsabbey #sundaymessage #radical #renovation #nofilter
”You show me a fighting aged male and I will show you a man who can work. Show me the man that you’re frightened of and I will show you a gentle soul who is scared. You show me an economic migrant, an invader or a crook, and I will show you a mirror. For we are all the sons and daughters of migrants. We, as the human race, have always moved. And we have all benefited from their misery.
In order for us to be rich, to buy cheap clothes and to talk on our phone, someone will slave for us. It is our ease of living that has made them poor. It is our exploitation that makes them run. Not just the West, but the rich all over the world. We are the creators of migration, the benefactors and the blind. We turn away our eyes to their suffering yet expect them to take all that comes. We buy brands that exploit, and expect everything for cheap, cheap, cheap.
But when a boy, or a man cannot see how they can survive, we expect them to drown silently in their poverty, whilst we book our holidays in the sun. And we will use our passports to fly to almost any destination on this earth. We, the rich can seek employment wherever we like, and we can just pop to Paris for a weekend away. But when the man who suffers for our opulence wants to do the same, we say no, don’t come, you should stay.
We, the creators of their misery, define ourselves as the victims of their pain. We cry and complain that someone steals the job that we’re too lazy to do. We take their oil, their minerals, their produce and their lives, yet it is ‘we’ who call ‘them’ the crooks. And it is we that call ourselves the victims of their pain. Some say that they come for our welfare state, yet we’ve met lots of people crossing this sea, and every single one of them wanted to work and to know safety.
Some talk of losing our culture but when we can turn our backs to the poor, then I think it’s a culture that we can lose. Some say that we should help our homeless first, yet when we see the destitute man on the streets, we may walk by. We each live in a blanket of self righteousness, myself included, stating that others should do something to change. Be it the homeless, the lonely or the displaced, we form our opinions from the warmth and comfort of our homes.
But unless we have walked one mile in their shoes, then don’t tell them where they should go. For we are their reflection. We were all made the same. It is by chance that we were born with opportunity, as it is by chance that they were born in the dust. And it could be by chance that our choices are taken away. Their struggle is our struggle, for if it was not them, it would be us. Do we think that leaving all that they have known is easy? Do we think that crossing that sea is a choice? We don’t know how many are lost on this journey. We don’t know the pain that they take. And if we want to talk about choices, then you should acknowledge that it is only us who can choose!
“We have one life. Let’s not waste it on hate. Only love!”
“We who formerly . . . valued above all things the acquisition of wealth and possessions, now bring what we have into a common stock, and communicate to everyone in need; we who hated and destroyed one another, and on account of their different manners would not live with men of a different tribe, now, since the coming of Christ, live familiarly with them, and pray for our enemies . . . . “
Justin Martyr (ca. 100–ca. 165), First Apology
While some were camping others were exploring issues of power using image theatre and forum theatre in a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop organised by GeorgeF and Reboot the Roots. How do you change oppression by protest, humour, cooperation, and imagination? More workshops to come.
“What spoke to me about Richards sermon today was the moment when the two disciples went to find the tethered colt. (I have only pictured one here). Richard suggested that the disciples might be challenged by someone, as they had been told to expect, and they might feel nervous about taking the colt without the owner’s permission. So they are in the position of having to step forward in faith to do something they would not normally do. I have depicted another character on the right, who might be challenging the disciple on the left. Is she going to overcome her fear and take the donkey? And is the other character going to challenge her or assist her? The donkey waits to see who takes control.”
What do you get if you invite Christians, Muslims, Jews, local people of faith and no faith to a Big Lunch / Sadaqa Day event on a snowy Sunday afternoon in March?
Well, it’s snow joke but it was fun, educational, emotional and very warm!
A Sadaqa Day is a Muslim day of social action and this time we were honoured to be able to host the event at All Hallows sharing food, getting to know each other better and hearing about some of the issues that our brothers and sisters experience as our Muslim neighbours. Adam shared with us the craziness of certain hateful people and Shahab’s brilliant response of “Love A Muslim Day” on April 3rd.
Despite the snow and ice there was a great turn out and we all made new friends. A great afternoon!
Last week (4th March) the congregation of All Hallows’ joined with St Chad’s and St Michael’s at St Chad’s to celebrate their patronal festival (a sort of birthday party!) Ted Schofield was inspired to produce the painting in response to the reading:
When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Ted Schofield has been inspired by David’s sermon on Jesus healing the man with the withered hand to produce these paintings. Ted says “the point that came across to me is that the man had the courage to stretch out his hand and reveal his weakness to Christ. I have created several different hands which represent different people and different kinds of pain.”
Sunday’s service was all age worship for the start of Lent. We went ‘into the desert’ where Jesus (and many of God’s people) have been tried and tested, and have grown in faith. We explored the desert (the sandpit!), we made space for quiet and contemplation, we made unleavened bread (pancakes), and we made prayer chains to help us give these 40 days of Lent to God.
Click on any picture to start the slide show. Also see Part 1