Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Pentecost Parish News Insert

Here's a column I wrote for this week's Parish leaflet:

The news this week has been rather sobering.  We have heard about tragic loss of life in Burma / Myanmar, the ongoing election nightmare in Zimbabwe, the surprise eruption of Chaiten Volcano in Chile … there are so many to choose from.

In our first reading today one phrase leapt out at me … "
they were all together in one place" (Acts 2:1).  It reminded me that there is strength in numbers.  It also reminded me of the African phrase of "Ubuntu", which is roughly translated as "I am, because we are" … a sense that a community and a society is only as strong as its individuals, and that each person is responsible for the well-being of the community which – naturally – includes them.  So that every act that an individual performs for the benefit of the community benefits them too – albeit indirectly sometimes, and every act that an individual performs that harms the community harms them too.

We are reminded, too, in our second reading that "just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ" (1 Cor 12:12), which this morning I would like to use in the context of community again.

It strikes me that, with the scale and number of disasters we are seeing now, what we really need to be doing as humans, is supporting each other and standing together.  Not judging each other on nationality, gender identity, faith, creed, political affiliation, income bracket, accent, ideologies or any other such thing.

t is vital that we become a people that focus on our similarities, celebrate these, and support and act for the good of each other.  I believe it is when we begin to do that that we see true transformation of communities and individuals, and the Spirit of God can truly begin to work and to renew.

Happy Pentecost

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