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Viewpoint from Carolyn Cliff 17/10/2014 

Dove rightCarolyn Cliff
Reader, Parish of Great Yarmouth

The TV news and papers can be full of the horrors of hatred, killing and war.  These, or major natural disasters, can lead to failure of farming, lack of food, starvation, disease, and death.  People flee their homes in hopes of finding safety, shelter and food; hoping for a brighter future
I have come learn that often countries have very complex needs.  Fighting in one can send refugees across borders of neighbouring countries.  Yet these countries can have their own problems which mean their own people have fled their lands and homes.  Vast numbers of mothers and fathers with their children; young and old seek shelter and help where they can
We may rarely see on our TV screens the deep love of God shown for the dispossessed.  All around the world people of different aid agencies, paid and volunteers, people of faith or no faith, cross frontiers bringing help dove leftdoctors and nurses bring healing to the sick; drivers bring food, medicines, water and shelter; teachers bring learning and play to children; peacekeepers bring the hope of justice, mercy and peace; many risk their lives for a better world.  many give their lives – whether by disease or being killed because their hearts are stirred to love and to sacrifice 

Nothing of this is new in history.  Even in our Bibles, we read of famine and people on the move. We only have to look at the story of Ruth or of Joseph bringing his family to Egypt at time of famine bear witness to this fact.  They found a new life and a new home.  Later we read of the Exodus as Israelites wander through the wilderness before finding a new yet old land to settle
Jesus as a baby and young child knew what it was like to be a refugee.  His parents fled Bethlehem for Egypt when their precious son’s life was threatened.  It was only a change of ruler back in their homeland that meant they could return home
With our wealth, we have sturdy homes for our families.  The latest gadget can be bought on credit.  Medical help is just a phone call away.  Can we comprehend what it is like to be running for our lives, taking our family and only what we can carry? 
Can we use our imaginations to put ourselves in a refugee’s place?  Can we see in our own town those whose needs overwhelm them?  Will this then stir our own hearts to compassion?  Will we then be ready to do more than just pray but take some loving action?  Will the gospel encourage us to respond to those in need? How do we live our daily lives in relation to those in need?