Monday, 13 March 2017

Going, going,,,


MONDAY MARCH 13th 2017 

We are on the way out of the EU. Mrs May will trigger Article 50 in the next week or two and so the negotiations will begin nine months after that historic referendum. Nine months: some pregnancy. 

And at the same time, Scotland may well vote to split the UK before Brexit happens in 2019 - and this has come as a complete surprise, a reverse elopement. Nicola Sturgeon wants a divorce with the rest of the UK in order to grow a new relationship with Europe.

We live in extraordinary times. We also live in the worst of times.

Sitting on our sofas watching the news, we are confronted with what happens when politics does not work at all. From our political difficulties, our thoughts and minds are pulled away from the plushness of the Houses of Parliament across thousands of arid miles to the drought-hit, war-torn, provinces of South Sudan and Somalia. 

These are places where politics by another means - war - is disrupting the lives of millions of people. Three million have fled the warlords in South Sudan, leaving slaughtered family members behind. Many who have made it into Uganda are women and children, courageous women who have left behind the bodies of their slaughtered husbands and sons. Many more millions are besieged in cities and towns in Somalia. Cholera stalks the lands. But simple supplies of clean water and grain are saving lives. 

And then, we are taken to the Netherlands, where a nation divided votes in a couple of days time. It has a choice between a poisonous politics of backward-looking hatred and something more hopeful yet somehow with less momentum. 

Where is the hope? Where is a sign of another narrative?

A group of young people from 70 nations stood with their flags in front of Buckingham Palace today to signal the start of the Commonwealth Games' torch run across 140,000 miles linking every competing country. Sporting rivalry can bring hope. Young people can show us a better way.


  1. When Esther heard about the plans for the annihilation of her people, she must have felt there was no hope. How could she, a mere woman, save an entire population of Jews from a mad King who could have had her killed if he so much as set eyes on her without his approval?
    In a book that makes no mention of God, Esther and her servants fast for three days. Her people are saved.
    Lord Jesus, as we fast in Lent, we ask you to hear our prayers for the world and for our families. Save us from greed for power and wealth. Help us to care for each other.
    Psam142: 5-7
    5 I cried out to You, O LORD; I said, "You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.
    6 Give heed to my cry for I am very low.
    Deliver me from my persecutors,
    For they are too strong for me.
    7 Bring my soul out of prison,
    So that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me,
    For You will deal bountifully with me.

  2. I have learnt about a better way of hope from a young person this morning. My 12 year old niece has just completed a school project on the theme "taking a stand in history". The small group she was working with chose to research Kailash Satyarthi. Having never heard of him I looked at the website she sent me to find out more:
    " In 2014, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” He and the grassroot movement founded by him, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), have liberated more than 84,000 children from exploitation and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation. Mr Satyarthi has been the architect of the single largest civil society network for the most exploited children, the Global March Against Child Labour, whose mobilization of unions, civil society and most importantly, children, led to the adoption of ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour in 1999. "

    What I found particularly interesting is the logo of his Foundation: it is a hummingbird. The website explains why:
    "The hummingbird in our logo signifies the importance of all of us “doing our bit” to protect the world’s children from exploitation. It comes from an Indian folktale, which was recounted by Satyarthi during his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
    You may ask; what can one person do? Let me tell you a story I remember from my childhood: A terrible fire had broken out. All the animals were running away, including the lion, king of the forest. Suddenly, the lion saw a tiny bird rushing toward the fire. he asked the bird, “What are you doing?” To the lion’s surprise, the bird replied, “I’m on my way to extinguish the fire.” He laughed and said, “How can you kill the fire with just one drop of water in your beak?” The bird was adamant and said, “But I am doing my bit.”"

    Hope for a better way can begin with us doing our small bit, just as my niece did by telling her aunties what she had studied. Each little drop of hope makes a difference. It's just that these little drops don't make news headlines.

    And the idea of learning from young people who know things we don't know has got me pondering. With young people seemingly constantly online, how might we encourage them to contribute to a blog? We would learn so much, and be enriched, by hearing from their perspective and their experiences of life and faith.