This week, one person watched thirty-eight others die in the freezing silence of a refrigerated container. Then they too died.
Hateful things have been said about the victims. Unfortunately we’ve seen this hate locally as well as in other communities. Hate for the dead is wrong. They were smuggled into our islands and died in horrific way. Each person in the container is like us in their humanity. They, like each of us, are beautifully made in the love of God. Being full of hate like this allows evil to infect us and our own selves. If we don’t do something about it it will destroy our humanity. We need to change, and change now.
Each of us in our communities, could become people on the move: migrants in a moment. You probably don’t believe that. The only way to explain it is that it’s like being in really, really bad car crash. Peace and safety vanishes overnight.
This evil has already got too much of a foothold. Nationally too many people think that violence would be a price worth paying ‘to take back control’. Finding a fix for Brexit won’t solve the hate. It’s got inside our lives like blood pumping round bodies. We need a doctor for hate. But there isn’t an NHS for that. We’re your parish church and our answer is that for this sickness of the soul you need help from God. . Only the light and hope of God is a certain vaccine against evil.
A day of reflection on our national life
A warm invitation to space to think about our national life – about where we are as people, and a country.
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A warning from history
We’re sounding this warning as your parish church. People who worship here have seen entire countries tumble apart like towers of Jenga sticks. We cry out in warning lest we all injure our nation. The souls of the faithful departed who walked, prayed, shared life in our places over the past thousand years cry out in warning. The change that’s needed for our communities can come only through a transformative change of heart. The only certain way to this fulsome change is through relationship with Jesus.
We could all have to move: in an instant
Each of us in our communities, could become people on the move: migrants in a moment. You probably don’t believe that. The only way to explain it is that it’s like being in really, really bad car crash. Peace and safety vanishes overnight. There’s no work. Your money isn’t worth anything. Everyone is cast into this great mass of frightened humanity. Flight into an entirely uncertain future as is all that remains. We know that it sounds like scaremongering. The thing is that in our churches we’ve seen it first hand. Some of us have lived or worked in countries that have spun apart. Here in the UK churches, and people of good will, welcome the stranger and hear the heartbroken story, time and time again.
We have always been people on the move
The great human family has always been a migrant people. At the pace of a toddler walking, the peoples of the earth spread out from Africa and Euphrates. This great surging movement of peoples is baked into who we are as the living. It will have no end until all people are at peace. Conflict and Climate Change are the great drivers of the peoples moving today. We give up on our own humanity the same day we declare we cannot ensure shelter and sanctuary for those driven from all they knew by violence. We commit to starve our souls the day we deny those forced into famine by climate change the chance to live freely.
This opinion piece does not necessarily reflect the views of the Parish Church Councils in Ampfield, Chilworth and North Baddesley. It was prompted by the death of 39 people in a refrigerated trailer that had travelled on the ferry from the Port of Zeebrugge, as reported by the BBC.