Words of Light and Hope Jane McLarty
This coming week in the Church of England is rich with festivals celebrating
the lives of holy people of the past – who no doubt did not think of
themselves as particularly saintly, but are remembered now because of the
life they lived, patterned on the life of Jesus Christ.
Today (Sunday 1 st October) we remember Ashley Cooper, the Earl of
Shaftesbury (1801 – 1885), best known perhaps for his work on employment
law to give some protection to children who worked long hours in mines and
factories. Wednesday 4 th October is the day set aside for Francis of Assisi
(1181/2 – 1226) – we think of him for his love for all creatures and his
recognition that all that is made are children of the same Creator; but he is
also remembered for his care for the poor and particularly those suffering
from leprosy, ostracised from society. And on Friday 6 th October the church
remembers William Tyndale (1494 – 1536), who translated the New
Testament from Greek into the contemporary English of his day, and was
executed for heresy.
Musing on these three people, I wondered whether there is anything that
links them. Perhaps it is that they saw what other people did not see, or did
not think to do anything about – the needs of ordinary people, and especially
those disregarded or despised by those living comfortable lives. Thank God
for people like this, who see what others can’t or won’t see, and do what
they can to help!
Lord, open our eyes, that we may see you in our brothers and sisters. Lord,
open our ears, that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the
frightened, the oppressed. Lord, open our hearts, that we may love each
other as you love us. Renew in us your spirit. Lord, free us and make us one.