Goats get a bad press...
Monday, April 27th
Boys in Kiambu, north of Nairobi
One of the good things about social media is being able to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. Yesterday, I came across a post from a friend Jenny and I haven’t seen for eleven years – Joseph. His proper name is Wanyoike Kuria, but he was known to us as Joseph, an Anglican priest in Thika, Kenya.
When we are immersed in our troubles here in the UK, it is easy to forget that other people in other parts of the world are also suffering – especially when the news features little beyond our shores, apart from a brief glimpse of Donald Trump’s antics and a few comparative statistics from the Covid-19 league tables.
Having been reminded of our friends in Kenya does help to put our own dilemmas into some kind of perspective. Christian Aid, Médecins Sans Frontières, Medical Aid for Palestine; they and other charities remind us that it’s hard to wash your hands regularly when you have no water supply or keep a safe distance from others when you are crammed into a refugee camp. The scale of their challenges is mind-numbing.
The danger is that in the current crisis, we do become numb to the needs of people in other parts of the world. It is fantastic that we can give so generously to support the efforts of Captain Tom and the Big Night In. And I’m sure some will quickly point out that charity begins at home. Well, it has!
But having begun at home, shouldn’t it continue and look beyond the immediate family towards our global family? We are all God’s people and we cannot seriously go along with the humorous adage, ‘God loves us all – but I’m his favourite.’
Jesus offered a striking response to the question posed in the parable of the sheep and the goats, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew Chapter 24)
Talking of goats takes me back to Kenya and the food we were so generously given by our hosts in Kiambu, Thika and other towns north of Nairobi. Their generosity must have been costly in terms of what they possessed but was given without reservation. Hopefully, we can reciprocate from our relative plenty and affirm that we can get through this – together.
Mother, Father God,
Thank you for those who provide food banks for the hungry of our nation and those who offer safe shelter for the homeless on our streets.
Help us to reach out to our global family and offer the same support through those who work through the UNHCR and the many charities who are working relentlessly to serve the victims of warfare, poverty and disease worldwide.
May we never turn a blind eye to the suffering of others, but look outward in love and compassion to all who suffer.
Mural of the Last Supper in Thika, Kenya