What's your challenge today? - Reflection by Canon Linda
Read Canon Linda's reflection for Tuesday, 23 February 2021.
Here is a prayer from the Anglican Communion:
“Saviour Christ, in whose way of love lies the secret of all life, and the hope of all people, we pray for quiet courage to match this hour. We did not choose to be born or to live in such an age; but let its possibilities inspire us and its vigour renew us for your kingdom’s sake. AMEN
It seems so relevant for us as we live with COVID19. The pandemic reminds us that we live in a global world with global issues.
So how do we respond to the challenge? Especially as we go forward? As my keep fit classes have been suspended I have been following some online classes and the one instructor always asks the question “where is your challenge today - it will be different today to yesterday and tomorrow”. One day I feel inspired to do something, the next the ennui sets in …. Common to us all I suspect as we live “in such an age”.
I spent 5 years on an Anglican Communion working group on evangelism and discipleship, over the time we met in various countries as we took turns to host the group. The visits consisted of a residential meeting to work on our brief and finishing with each of us being allocated to a parish to engage with the local people in their mission and ministry.
Two visits were particularly challenging for various reasons - In Malaysia our residential meetings were in Kuala Lumpur and I was then posted to Ipoh with vibrant churches in a multi religious area where proselytizing, as in the whole of Malaysia, is forbidden. As part of that we spent time in Kampung Jahang where the local ministers reached out in practical ways to the villagers. The time in Malaysia coincided with the Anglican provincial gathering in Penang to which we were invited. It was on the theme of “Rising above the storm” as they engaged with the government in their views of Christianity.
In Kenya we were initially based in Nairobi with armed guards protecting us, we then moved to Limuru in the beautiful highlands for our residential meeting. The estate is where in the 1950s missionaries from England had established a farm growing vegetables. To this day vegetables are distributed into the urban areas including Kibera where I was based for my parish experience. The picture above is of an initiative to give people a “cut and come again” vegetable plant in a bag of soil to grow by their homes. The family hosting me living near Kibera had contracted malaria I had to be placed with a family living in Kibera which was certainly unplanned! (the film “The Constant Gardener” was made in Kibera).
My hosts were generous and shared what they had with me - giving me a gift of half a bucket of water to “bathe” with and a bed in the “guest room” which was outside in the courtyard that I shared with visitors who came and went to lay down for a rest. On my final night before flying home the local bus station was attacked by bombers leaving many dead and injured so the night sky was full of military aircraft - I wondered if I would get home that day - I did after multiple stringent security checks outside and inside the airport. I made my way from Heathrow to Euston then up to Liverpool by train to arrive home where my husband was waiting for me with a hot bath, mug of coffee and a bacon sandwich.
I continue to be grateful for the experiences and challenges that I had and as one of life’s natural wimps I often had to pray for “quiet courage” to face some of the times - I was exposed to people and situations that remain with me to this day as I live a relatively privileged life.
At a recent webinar on how we respond to COVID19 in our region, hosted by the University of Liverpool (following conversations with the deans of our cathedrals), the Bishop of Liverpool said:
“What we need is confidence and the capacity to act, and our solidarity with the wider community rests of our credibility as people who say what they mean and do what they say”.
May we have the quiet courage to match this hour as we wait in these Lenten times to the promise that God so loved the world that he sent his only son to redeem us.
While you're here:
Why not prepare for next Sunday's worship? Our preparation sheet for adults and for children can be accessed by clicking on the Resources tab of this website: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.