It's difficult to keep the problems of the world in focus - the media moves on, things happen in our own lives, there just doesn't seem to be the brain space to hold everything in our prayers. We'd just be on our knees forever and never actually find the time to act on anything that moves us. But Syria is still a devastated war zone. Idlib, once a safe haven, is now under attack. The people who fled there have no where else to run. If you want to read about real life in Syria right now, an amazing Instagram account called Through Refugee Eyes is worth your time.
8 little boats, 90 people including children - it was a calm day, a freezing cold day. Perfect for traffickers to push them off from the French shore to take a chance across 23 perilous miles. They don't care if they make it or not, they've been paid. Despite the best efforts of Brexit isolationism, Britain is still seen, and will always be seen, as a compassionate place of sanctuary. You can't spend three hundred odd years permeating the globe with a 'Britain is the best' message and then be surprised when that gets deeply embedded in cultures around the world.
Just watching the most astonishing, shocking, heartbreaking documentary on the Australian fires - this is not climate change, this is climate emergency. Stop discussing, stop weighing up the possibilities. Stop letting politicians talk about reviews and enquiries. Start making changes in how we live on God's Earth - small changes, big changes, any changes. Just start now.
February - blimey, that came round quickly! Lent begins in February this year (Shrove Tuesday is on the 25th) and the theme for the Church of England this year is 'Care for God's Creation'. We live in a beautiful, diverse, benevolent and malevolent, wonderous world, and we reflect all of those qualities. God's Creation includes us, so let's make this a Lent to really look after each other and wherever we are in the world. Make habits that become a way of life, make friends that last a lifetime. Change minds, change hearts.
Love your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind; Love your neighbour as yourself - this is
the only manifesto that can be truly believed, that can honestly be enacted, that will always, always make a difference.
There are now more foodbanks than MacDonald's in the UK - is it OK to be both horrified at the need and heartened by the generosity?
When the weather is awful, if you're homeless the wet is worse than the cold -
you get wet, your few possessions get wet, your sleeping bag gets wet. You get cold, you can't get dry and warm. You get ill. You die. That's the reality of living on the streets. Over 44 years old (42 if you're female)? You're living on borrowed time, already past the mean age at death of a homeless person in the UK.
If you see someone on the streets please report them to the authorities by using
to connect them to people who can offer help. Have a dig around your cupboards - is there a waterproof coat hanging there you haven't worn in a while? Do you really need more than one? How many umbrellas do you have? You can only hold one at once. Put things to better use than just taking up cupboard space. Give someone a roll of strong bin liners to put their things in. Make a donation to one of the local charities that do wonderful work with the vulnerable. There is always something you can do to make a difference to someone else.
1.6million food parcels issued by Trussell Trust Food Banks in 2018 - that's up from 41,000 in 2010. I'll just let that sink in.
Saw this... ...thought it was kind of lovely.