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Viewpoint from Rev Derrick Hill 02/10/2015 

Derrick ProfileRev  Derrick Hill
Baptist Minister (retired)
Member of Light of Life Baptist Church, Ormesby

Within the last week I have worshipped at Norwich Cathedral – traditional sung compline followed by a Christian Aid Prayer Vigil for the Syrian people – and with the vibrant Portuguese speaking congregation that meets weekly at Park Baptist Church, Great Yarmouth. Two contrasting styles of worship that provide different perspectives on a common theme
At the Cathedral we heard horrendous personal stories from individuals who have exited Syria after scenes of devastating destruction touched them and their families personally. We realised that however many have left that nation, many more remain, living in fear and desperately praying for love to overcome hatred, for peace to replace internal wars
Dove rightBut we also came to recognise the massive humanitarian need of those who, as a last resort and in fear of death, have exited Syria and joined the queues of migrants seeking haven in Europe, often carrying nothing but their humanity and personal skills – and, of course, in the 21st century, their mobile phones! They face a mixed reaction of welcome and rejection
Meanwhile the Portuguese speaking congregation at Park Baptist Church comprise a community that has come together from many nations over the past decade, leaving behind various hardships whilst responding to our need for a labour force. Some that we have known have now returned to their homelands; others have joined more recently; but at the core has developed a stable community, mutually supportive, earning their living and contributing taxes – and thankful for the welcome and the good news of Jesus Christ that has been extended to them by local Christians
dove leftWorshipping alongside these people with their varied experiences – and reflecting upon the Christian Gospel – enables us to see a different perspective from those who only see the situation from afar. There is no doubt that God calls us all to work for peace in whatever way that we can – but when peace fails and strangers seek safety amongst us we are also called to welcome them, remembering that God’s people have frequently lived in foreign lands – including Egypt and Babylon!
As Christians today, we often find ourselves living in a world that does not share godly values and we need to take care that our own thoughts are guided by God’s eternal truths and not by the current culture, however that is displayed. May we continue to both work for peace and welcome the stranger amongst us