Saturday, 24 June 2017

Acts of kindness can build a better world

DID you filter the manifestos?

Did you hear all sides of the campaign arguments?

Do we, like many of those who listened to Jesus, hear what we want to hear, see what we want to see, all to justify a position we are not prepared to review and change?

Christians celebrated the festival of Pentecost on June 4. Review, change and challenge were the order of that day, nearly 2,000 years ago, when the Jewish festival also marked the emergence of a Christian community, the church.

It was not just for the disciples receiving God’s gift of the Holy Spirit but also the onlookers who were caught up in the consequences. Holy love was the source, the reason, the method and the outcome.

“Love” was the cry from the thousands who gathered in defiant solidarity for a concert in the wake of the Manchester terror attack.

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another” was the advice and command of Jesus to his disciples.

Love is a verb in these contexts. It is a choice, action born of an idea, a principle, an attitude. If it becomes a feeling, that is a bonus. If it becomes automatic, that is sacred.

We have seen love in action under the most terrible of circumstances. Homeless Steven Jones ran to the aid of strangers injured at the Manchester arena; an officer charged towards the three attackers in London Bridge with just his baton, trying to prevent further carnage; Ariana Grande returned to the UK with a celebrity team to host the “One Love Manchester” concert raising more than £9.3m for those affected by the attack, visited victims in hospital as have members of the royal family; Millwall fan Roy Larner tried to stop the attackers and help others escape and was stabbed five times while doing so.

Every act of love and concern for “another” is building a better world — as Jesus said it could.

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