Just back from a couple of days away and then weekend working.
On Thursday and Friday I travelled to just north of Brighton to take my father to see his older sister: the first time in several years, although they keep in touch by phone. It was a joy to see them sitting in her settee catching up on the news, like a couple of teenagers.
Auntie Anne (& her husband Uncle Stanley) were always special as I grew up and whenever they came to visit it was an exciting occasion because to a small child growing up it felt like two important visitors were coming. I now know that they wouldn't have seen themselves as special in any way but to me it was always a great adventure meeting them and spending time with them. After all, they were from so far away; London !!
It was a lovely visit as it gave me a chance to catch up with my cousins also, April and Douglas who I hadn't seen for many years. Memories shared, laughter and tears also. I do hope to go back in the Spring, with Alison.
Then, just this afternoon I called in to see an older church member who'se husband is in hospital. As we chatted she shared about how her daughter was able to get each week (because of distance) but how her next door neighbours called in each day to make sure she's ok. “They're Muslims” she remarked in a matter-of-fact way. As I was leaving, the lady of next doors family called and I took the chance to thank her, to which she replied “As Muslims we're taught to look after our neighbours” and then she told me what a joy it was to have my church member as her friend.
You know, we live in a world wher at the end of the day religion is used as an excuse to shore up the in-built bigotry some people already have; islamaphobia, homophobia, do not have any justified place within any religion, but our media and others will argue that Christians and Muslims are full of all-consuming hate for each other, for homosexuality, and for anything that is considered 'not the norm'
I actually find that it is the true people of whatever faith who have found that which lies at the heart of life itself, love, peace and respect for all. To me ALL people are God-created and although I may not agree with their religion, their dress code, their way of life or even their football team (!) I WILL love them as central to my faith is the belief that God created all people and has told me to “love my neighbour”
I love the current Amazon Christmas video of a Muslim and a Priest showing friendship by buying each other knee pads to help them at prayer times. Oh, hasten the day when all people can sit as close to each other as Dad and Auntie Anne did on her settee and simply talk with a sparkle in the eyes and the enjoyment of company.