Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Sharing love; seeking prayer

The tide of immigrants arriving on our shores grows daily.  And whilst we may be concerned about our small island becoming dangerously overcrowded and the social systems we're privileged to enjoy becoming stretched beyond their limits, we mustn't ever lose sight of the reality that these are people fleeing from frightening, hopeless situations and this is the world's worst refugee crisis since World War II. And who amongst us could put hand on heart and say we wouldn't do the same if we were in their shoes? These are our brothers and sisters from foreign lands.  They are our new neighbours, arriving on our shores with nothing; nothing but hope.
I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes,    ...   Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, you did it to me.
Matthew 25.35-40 MSG
Those of us who work as writers can only do so in trust, never knowing how God will use the words He gives us.  Forty copies of 'Whispers of Love' recently winged their way down to Kent after a friend of a friend requested some to share with the many illegal immigrants whom they are offering Christian support to.   A tiny contribution in the midst of a massive tide of need. 
When was I lost and lonely and you told me about Christ? 
Please pray for the refugees who have found their way here, whether illegally or not, for those reaching out to offer love to them and for all who seek ways of resolving this escalating crisis of wounded humanity.  Warsan Shire's powerful poem, "Home is the barrel of a gun", expresses better than I ever could the horrors that drive these people to risk everything and to push themselves beyond their absolute limits of endurance.  Listen to it - it will touch you deeply.  Listen to it - and let it change you.
And if you're a Christian writer with a few spare books stacked in your garage that you'd be happy to donate, please get in touch.
Please pray ...
On the personal front, the last few months have been a difficult season of supporting my father through serious ill health and a rapid decline into advanced dementia.  It has been painful, stressful, demanding and exhausting; and has taken its toll on me.

Watching the colours of autumn unfold reminds me that all of creation speaks of the importance of fallow times, just as all of scripture speaks of the importance of Sabbath.  After much prayer, I am
following medical advice to take a 3 month sabbatical in order to restore and renew myself for future ministry.  Unfortunately this has meant taking a difficult decision to withdraw from two retreat leading commitments this autumn. To all who had booked into 'Undeserved Grace' at Penhurst and 'Prepare to Welcome Him' at Shallowford I extend my love, prayer and apologies.

Please pray that rest and renewal will enable me to return stronger to all that God calls me to, bearing new fruit in due season.
May our healing, renewing God be with you all.