I was so warmed to read of the greetings that the Rev’d Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference and Carolyn Lawrence, our Vice- President have sent to faith leaders at the time of Diwali. It is good for us to be reminded at a time when everything seems to be focussed on ‘having a normal Christmas’ that it is not just we as Christians but Jews, Muslims, Hindus and those of other faiths who are called on to make sacrifices for the good of others. So may we travel through Advent humbly and, for all the sacrifice, follow the example of others who have worshipped virtually, mixed less freely, loved more fully during their religious festivals. Let us do this even if it means keeping our churches closed until secular closed venues, say theatres, are able to open again safely.
1 A man lay beaten, left for dead,
his shattered, broken frame
spoke of the kicks that brought him down,
the blows that bruise and maim.
The ones who might have offered help
could give a reason why
they left him lying in the road,
they left him there to die.
2 They spoke of fear, they passed him by,
they left him in his pain;
too busy or too self–absorbed
to turn and look again.
The ones who could have helped walked on,
they passed and soon forgot,
but one who knew the cost of love
knelt down and shared his lot.
3 When people challenge or deny
our rights and break us down,
when others leave us desolate
and friends just laugh or frown;
The foreigners that we reject,
the ones we would despise,
can bring the grace of God to bear,
bring love into our lives.
4 And when we see another’s need
and feel another’s loss,
God give us courage and the strength,
the memory of your cross;
God give compassion, selfless care,
and strip away our pride,
then give us each the grace to love
the ones we might deride.
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
© 2008 Stainer & Bell Ltd. Please include on your CCL Licence return