|I'd love to credit this, but I have no idea where it is from. I shared it from a friends FB post but it is not hers|
I want to embrace and care for all parts of the world. Currently there are 23 nationalities represented within our community, that is people from the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Each one of those people adds something just a little different, special and unique to the lifeblood here and I do not value any one of them more or less because their skin is white or because they speak English as their first language.
Yes, we are all Christians, I live in a Christian community but I suspect every one of us has friends of other religions and none. I will not ostracise people because they are Muslim.
There are some extremists doing terrible things in the name of Islam and claiming they are following the word of the Quran but that small minority is not all Muslims. In the same way that I would never decree all Catholics to have been in allegiance with the IRA. Sadly there are always small break-off groups that act in the worst manner and taint the reputation of the bigger contingent.
As a Christian my instant response to any catastrophe is to pray and then to respond with love and not with hate. There is too much hate and if we all turn on each other and allow the hate to take root then that small group of terrorists have won. They have achieved what they wanted, for the developed world to fall apart and dissolve into anarchy.
Over the last 48 hours hundreds of thousands of people have shared images of Paris, used the hashtag #PrayforParis and turned their social media icon into the French national flag. Does this mean that France is more important that everywhere else in the world? Of course not. Does it mean they are a racist who only care about white people? I sincerely hope not.
Does it mean they don't have an original thought and are just following the heard? Maybe, who knows. It is not for us to judge. All I can say is that I turned my social media icon to the French flag as FB made it very easy to do so and I wanted to publicly join my French friends in mourning what has happened in Paris.
Does this mean I do not care about the dams bursting in Brazil and the contaminated water supply for thousands of people? Or the plane crash that killed 224 Russian nationals a couple of weeks ago? Or the 51 million refugees displaced across the world due to political unrest and infighting? Or the devastating earthquakes in Nepal or Afghanistan earlier this year killing around 9500 between them? Or the shocking storm in South Carolina this October? Of course not, I care about every one of these things and this is why you'll often find me writing on here or sharing on social media about the ways that we can all get involved and campaign for a fairer and better world.
I do believe in change and that change will come when we all work together. When we join hands and see past the colour of our skin, the language we speak and the God we worship. That change comes when we extend our hand in love, when we show compassion and when we treat all people as equals and not just those we like or who are like us.
I saw this street art this morning as I walked through London and it summed it all up for me -
Let's stop putting people down and making others feel bad. It is OK if you changed your social media icon to a French flag and it is OK if you didn't.
But let's not judge each other, OK? And let's not feel as if we might be judged for the choice we made. Each one of us is different and that is good, a positive force to be played upon.
Today I reach my hand out to you, each one of you and I say let's stop making war and start making peace.
Are you with me?
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