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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

13 September 2017: Rev'd Chris Williams, St Mary, Liss

It’s a Disaster

Last week, the headlines in almost all the media were about the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Sadly, 60 Texans lost their lives and some 32,000 people were forced into shelters. During the same period in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, more than 1,200 people were killed and 40 million have been displaced – think of that – 40 million – a fact that hardly made it into some news outlets at all. And yet, there is another crisis too - judged in July by the UN to be “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis” and that is Yemen. Here, 10,000 people have been killed in the last two years, with 7 million made homeless by the bombs of the Saudi-led coalition. When was the last time you read about that? Unlike the (partly), natural causes of the first two situations, this last one is very much man-made and the UK have provided £3.3bn of armaments to the Saudis in the first year of the war alone. Just three situations among many.

As we observe the world, we often have a hierarchy of sympathy and interest; we consider the lives of one group of people to be worth less than those of another – worth less coverage, less attention, less sympathy, less support. There are many reasons why we do this but I simply want to bring a challenge: we can only respond to what we know. If we think we are deficient in our knowledge, then it can be increased by reading a different newspaper or considering alternative ways of receiving our online news and information. And when we ‘know’, turn that knowledge into prayer. At the very least prayer makes situations more real in our minds and hearts and to respond to others with our minds is the first step to responding with action. Please pray for all the people caught up in the events described above.

Everyone is invited to join with the Town Chaplains to discover more about the work of this group: next Sunday 17 September at 6:30 pm in the Salvation Army Hall

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