Associate Minister's November 2015 Letter

Shaking the Nations

I was very moved by Karen’s article last month about the refugee crisis: ‘Who is my neighbour?’  Even though the prominence of the issue has receded from our TV screens the terrible situation for so many millions has if anything worsened with the summer ending and cold weather on its way. 

At Greenbelt in August, the Christian Festival we go to each year in Northamptonshire, we heard Jeremy Moodey speaking about the situation in Syria.  His career was in the Foreign Office and now he works with a charity called Embrace the Middle East (www.embraceme.org).  Their aim is to take help to the refugees in Syria and the countries around.  One project is to give mattresses to families who have nothing but filthy sodden bedding for their children.

We recently decided to buy a new topper mattress for ourselves at home.  We knew we wouldn’t sleep in peace without sending the same amount of money to Embrace the Middle East for their appeal!

Soon after the refugee crisis was in the news I came across this verse from an Old Testament prophecy:

I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. Haggai 2:7

That is primarily speaking about the coming of Jesus to the temple but this shaking is a good description of what is happening in the present day.  We are seeing the countries of the Middle East shaking and millions risking their lives to find somewhere secure to live. The verse from Haggai remind us that God knows what the outcome will be. Instead of fearing what this mass migration will do to our way of life we need to do what we can and pray that it will bring about something positive in the world. 

As I write this there is tension in Jerusalem and on the West Bank.  I am appalled at the way the first reports were so blatantly biased in favour of the Israeli version of events.  The Palestinian side of the story is hardly ever told.

At our 6.30pm evening service in Farringdon on Sunday 22nd of November we are going to have a speaker: Simon Holloway.  He is now vicar of a group of parishes near Axminster but has experience of working in Cyprus and the Middle East.  He will focus on the refugee crisis, with reference to Islam and help us think through how we can respond.

Revd Christopher Cant


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