At this time of year we traditionally celebrate harvest when we thank God in the words of the hymn “For all good gifts around us!” We naturally think of these as material things but how often do we thank God for our own gifts and our ability to help other people.
I have read the book ‘I am Malala’ which tells the story of the girl shot by the Taliban for attending school in Pakistan.
I found it extremely interesting as it describes a culture so different from our own. It made me realise how little I know about Pakistan. The activities of the Taliban and various political groups made quite horrifying reading.
What really struck home by reading the book was how all my life I have taken for granted, clean water, food each day, electricity education and possibly most importantly the freedom of choice.
Malala is now living in Birmingham with her family. She has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala has said that peace will come through education not violence and continues her campaign to enable all children to receive an education.
We might not be known like Malala but could our actions be improving the quality of life for others?
I ask this as the focus of the media is on the refugees from Syria. How can we not be affected by the plight of the refugees?
The situation in Syria , basically a civil war, I feel is very similar to the one described by Malala in Pakistan. We might blame ourselves and the Americans for destabilising the region. Certainly there are many questions but no immediate answers.
How can we ignore the crowds of refugees seeking a better life? One refugee on the Greek island of Kos, when asked what he required replied in fluent English ‘my freedom’.
It is our duty as Christians to obey the two commandments of Jesus to love God and love our neighbours and in doing so to show compassion towards the refugees. This is probably true of other faiths and people of no faith.
How we respond is up to each one of us. Perhaps like the mayor of one town in Hungary we could provide accommodation. Perhaps we are prepared to donate food, clothes and toys like the people of Germany, or perhaps may be simply sit back and allow our government to take full responsibility on our behalf.
In the gospels, Jesus often told stories about the harvest and showed the coming of Gods Kingdom like a harvest. This harvest let us thank God for our gifts and work towards a better place for all people.
(This article by Sheila was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in February 2016)