Saturday, May 11, 2019

Gleanings 22) Viewpoints - Christian Aid

These yellowing newspaper columns I have just found cover a range of issues.  I can't remember how many I did in total but I have three from May 1974 and another in summer 1974.  Of course the language is sometimes dated (man!) and the contexts are also dated - like the controversial first screening of 'The Exorcist" movie in Blackburn. As I review them I often see an enthusiastic, young preacher using this column as an extension of  his preaching!  How amazing to think that this high circulation daily newspaper gave space to such explicit stuff.  The first viewpoint was an obvious one for a Christian minister to write - Christian Aid Week. Sadly, this remains intensely relevant.
It is Christian Aid Week again - the annual pricking on our consciences about the poorest people in the world. As we are tempted to find small change for the envelope that popped through the letter box, let me tell you a story. It's called 'The feeding of the five thousand - how it didn't happen".   
The crowd sat patiently in the late afternoon sun, waiting to be fed. "Is there really bread for everybody, Mama?" asked a child at the back. 'Yes, dear. The Master is giving it to His disciples now." The child rubbed his eyes. " Will it be long?" Mother took him on her lap. " No, they're passing it to the front row now." Slowly the child's eyes closed. When they opened the sun was low in the west. He sat up quickly. " Did you save me some, Mama? I missed it, didn't I?  Mother stirred uneasily. 'No dear, It's not come yet. The front row is still eating." The child returned his head to her lap " I'm hungry Mama, Isn't it here yet?"  Mother looked anxiously ahead. " No, I think there's something wrong. The front row is having some more." The child sighed. " It's no good being in the back row,is it Mama?"
When the last tinge of colour faded from the sky the child sat up again. "I bet there isn't any!' he declared.  Mother shook her head. "Yes, there is, I can see them eating it."  Darkness fell and at last Mother got slowly to her feet. " Let's go home. They said it was for everybody, but I guess it's only for the front row after all."  
Let all of us on the front row take note and make this week the beginning of concern and giving for those missed out as we enjoy God's world. If we fail to help there will be a tragic story - the feeding of the millions: how it didn't happen.  

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