Welcome to the St. Andrew’s Church newsletter.
75 years ago, on 8th May 1945 the whole country came to a standstill to celebrate Victory in Europe day – the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, marking the end of World War II in Europe. And of course the celebrations extended far beyond our own shores, across Europe and further afield. It was a remarkable coming together on an international scale, and an achievement only made possible thanks to the self-sacrifice of so many – not only those in the armed forces but also the armies of civilians supporting the war effort and supporting each other through incredibly difficult times.
Parallels have of course been drawn with our present situation: the international impact; the self-sacrifice of those key workers on the ‘front line’ in our NHS, care homes, postal services, street cleaners and many more. But also the coming together of the community in mutual support and kindness for our neighbours, especially in attentiveness to the needs of the most vulnerable. Our Gospel reading tomorrow (Mark 12:28-34) reminds us that love for our neighbour cannot be separated from love for God. It’s by loving God that we are inspired to love our neighbour. And loving our neighbour is how we show that we love God.
In Southern Africa there is a term for this mutual dependence and care – Ubuntu. It’s a recognition that we need one another, that ‘I am because we are’. Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains, ‘a person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good’. Despite our physical separation during lockdown, it is remarkable how people are finding creative and self-giving ways to demonstrate this ubuntu on a local level. Let’s ensure that even when lockdown begins to lift, we will continue to recognise our mutual dependence by loving God and loving our neighbours.
Our mutual dependence doesn’t stop at the local level. In the service tomorrow we’ll be thinking about how our brothers and sisters around the world are being impacted by Covid-19 – and what we can learn from them. We belong together.
God bless you.
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