Janet`s May 2017 letter to the Community

Two things have come together for me this month.  At Christmas, I was given a “bird feeding station” for the garden.  It seemed to take a while for the birds to realise it was there, but over the last few weeks, it has definitely become a “go-to” café for quite a number of birds, including, to my great joy, a pair of goldfinches.

While all sorts of competition for food has been going on in my garden, we have been exploring the Lord’s Prayer in our Lent Groups.  The session on: “Give us today our daily bread” was particularly stimulating.  Discussion ranged far and wide, but two points stood out: for most of us, there is a difference between what we want and what we need.  Praying this line of the prayer is a corrective to the greed that shapes so much of our culture, encouraging over-indulgence and a preoccupation with satisfying ever-growing desires for “more”.   And praying “give us…” and not “give me …”, reminds us that we are part of a global community where needs are often so much closer to the surface.

I was reminded of a story told by a colleague who participated in a visit to our link Dioceses in Kenya a couple of years ago.  She recounted the reactions of the group as they travelled to the village of Kargi in Northern Kenya.  The surrounding countryside was so arid and desolate that they could not imagine how anyone could survive and it was evident that the whole population was very poor.  They were greeted with enthusiasm as honoured guests, and with great generosity as the villagers told how they had killed their “fat goat” to provide a meal for the visitors, judging that to kill the “skinny goat” would not have been appropriately welcoming.  To a group of well-fed westerners this open-heartedness was both moving and humbling.  Even more humbling, perhaps, was what took place the following morning when the visitors were preparing to leave the village.  A group of people came running up with a large bag of rice.  “Please take this to our neighbours in Kurkum,” they said.  “They are very poor – they have nothing.”

As we are inclined to worry about having “enough” of all sorts of things, it is awe-inspiring to hear of people who can show such generosity in such very difficult circumstances.  And as I watch the birds on my bird feeder, I remember another Bible passage, where Jesus tells his disciples: “Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

With every blessing,


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