September 11

posted 4 Sep 2011, 12:30 by Richard Jones   [ updated 4 Sep 2011, 12:31 ]
The Vicar writes . . . 
I WAS TALKING to a member of the congregation the other day about the famine in East Africa.

"It isn't that I don't care", she said defensively: "It's that I can't. I've run out of caring. I've realised that caring isn't enough. I have to do something to make a difference.' And I can't do anything about famine or genocide, or Third World debt, refugees, or child labour. It's a hopeless task for one person, and I'm tired. After years of struggling with justice and peace issues. Getting people even to listen, let alone contribute, is becoming harder and harder, and I've just about had enough of feeling a failure!" 

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep", but how can we bear the sight of the distended bellies of all those little children, so far away, so out of reach of our practical help, but plenty visible enough to break our hearts? 

But Jesus didn't ask us to change the world single-handed. Just to change ourselves. How can these pieces of human jigsaw fit together? How do we respond to his commandments and stop impotent despair from clouding our good intentions when we are prevented from fulfilling our Christian responsibility by forces beyond our control? How can we cope with this failure? 

We need to realise that when enough people share the same conviction they become a powerful force for good and can change the world, almost without realising it. Every one small generous act by an individual can have effects beyond our understanding. Because in God's economy, no good act is ever wasted. 

A man died and went before God to be judged. The recording angel searched through the book of life to find anything to commend his soul for eternal life, but found nothing. "Please look again", asked God as he gazed lovingly on the poor soul before him. "There's nothing", replied the angel: "only a worm". "Tell me about the worm" said God. The man shrugged: "It was nothing, I was out for a walk. It was a sunny day. I saw a worm caught in the sunshine on the path, beginning to dry up. I don't even like worms, nasty slimy things. But I picked it up and put it in the shade. So what?" 

God picked up his backward-looking telescope and peered through it. "Ah, yes", he said, "Now I remember. That worm spawned a generation of strong energetic worms which aerated all the land around your village. The crops grew well and the harvest was plentiful. Much was saved in storage. And when later, the famine struck, the villagers were able to live on the excess. Your action saved the lives of 42 people. Welcome into my kingdom my beloved child." 

We are not called to be successful, only to be faithful. May God's blessing be with you all.