Silly Season

Traditionally the holiday season is rather devoid of ‘proper’ news, and is therefore often called the silly season because of the silly news that gets broadcast.  This year has been different for both good and bad reasons.  The good reason was the start of the Olympics, since when it seems our diet is sport and weather!

And the bad — prior to the start of the Olympics we heard about a seemingly endless stream of atrocities; in Afghanistan, Belgium, France, Iraq, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, Syria … and the list goes on! Such a litany of evil and destruction leaves me speechless.  Resorting to the words of Robert Burns: “Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.”  Robert was spot on with the first word in that in the vast majority of cases it is men who commit these atrocities.  Unfortunately it is not just men who suffer, it is women and children.  These events make me feel both sad and impotent … what can we do?  Firstly, we can support the outrageously generous people who work for organisations such as Christian Aid and Médecins Sans Frontières.  Secondly we can pray.

On a more positive note; it was a great pleasure to meet with the young people, and their leaders, from Taiwan who came to Church House in early August, as part of their visit to the UK.  At a time where our differences seem to drive hatred and violence it is heart-warming to meet fellow Christians from 6,000 miles away so that we can appreciate both our differences and our similarities.  I was particularly impressed by the organisation put into the visit by the URC Youth and our CYDOs enabling our Taiwanese friends to get a good understanding of both the UK and the URC.  If only that level of understanding and grace could exist between all nations.

Pray well, long and deep.

Alan Yates

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