At this time of the year many people often find themselves reflecting on the past or dreaming about the future.
We are individuals living in a society which encourages us to think that the world should revolve around ‘me’. We only have to consider the popularity of the reality shows on television, when unknown and often talentless individuals believe they are just what the world of entertainment needs, or celebrities trying to resurrect their careers for a nice sum of money.
Often watching these programmes is like being at the zoo. A few weeks ago I joined a group of school children watching the Spectacled Bear at Chester Zoo watching us. If only I could have read his thoughts. Perhaps I am crediting the Spectacled Bear with more intelligence than he has but certainly at that moment it appeared to be the same as mine!
Seeing the various animals at the zoo, I think it is impossible not to appreciate how animals show respect for each other and especially how they nurture their young.
We as human animals can learn much from our pets as well as from wild animals.
In reflecting over the past year it is impossible not to visualise the horrific images of people suffering in Africa from the Ebola epidemic, the ruins of buildings in Syria and their former inhabitants now living as refugees in Lebanon. Or, more recently the scenes on Black Friday in the shops in this country as people fought to get a bargain. The idea of children being used as sexual objects or slaves, is something we should all be ashamed about as slavery was abolished over 200 years ago.
In these situations and in so many other similar news stories, was any respect being shown from one person to another?
In St Matthews Gospel 2, 31- 46, in a passage you will know from the song “When I needed a neighbour”, we are encouraged to work for social justice for all people.
Many of you will already be supporting the ‘food bank’ and other charities but it is essential that we all, through respect and care for each other, are ready to help the most vulnerable in society.
Our dream for the future should be that each child born in 2015 will grow up with loving parents, access to health care when necessary, enough food and water to grow and an education. So that they can attain their full potential irrespective of nationality, skin colour, gender or faith.
Best wishes for 2015.
(This article by Rev’d Shiela was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in January 2015)