Thought for the Week

Rutherglen Reformer - - News from the Pews -

Win­ston Churchill, on mark­ing Victory in Europe Day 70 years ago, said, this, “Now we have emerged from one deadly strug­gle.

“The ter­ri­ble foe has been cast on the ground and awaits our judge­ment and mercy.”

For the ma­jor­ity of those af­fected by war, for those who lost loved ones, for those whose lives and bod­ies were bro­ken, the judge­ment part would be eas­ier than the mercy part.

Yet, 2015 marks not only the 70th an­niver­sary of VE Day but also the found­ing of Chris­tian Aid. It was the dev­as­ta­tion caused by WW2 and the dread­ful con­se­quences of it that made it nec­es­sary for com­pas­sion to be shown to ALL who were in need.

This was where the mercy part came in.

It was an army chap­lain the Rev. Dou­glas Lis­ter of the Church of Scot­land who set the ball rolling.

In the af­ter­math of the war he was ap­proached by a Luft­waffe of­fi­cer and told of the des­per­ate plight of some 80,000 refugees shel­ter­ing in bombed out build­ings nearby.

Lis­ter was hor­ri­fied at the scale of hu­man suf­fer­ing which met his eyes. He sought help from his su­pe­ri­ors but was re­fused on the ba­sis that he would be frater­nising with the en­emy.

He then de­cided to write to churches in Bri­tain plead­ing for help. Even though the Bri­tish peo­ple were suf­fer­ing hard­ship them­selves, they re­sponded to their fel­low hu­man be­ings in need.

This out­pour­ing of mer­ci­ful, non­judge­men­tal love had an amaz­ing ef­fect. Churches all over Europe be­gan to re­spond as well. Out of this ini­tial Chris­tian ideal, the or­gan­i­sa­tion we now know as Chris­tian Aid be­gan.

In this 70th year, Chris­tian Aid still works on the ba­sis of of­fer­ing un­con­di­tional help. It doesn’t de­pend on the re­cip­i­ents be­ing Chris­tian. It doesn’t de­pend on their cul­ture. The only con­di­tion is their need. This rad­i­cal ideal finds its ori­gin in Je­sus Christ.

The Bi­ble tells us, ‘We love be­cause God first loved us’. Rev. Maggie McArthur, Fern­hill & Cathkin Church.

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