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Viewpoint from Revd Canon Nick Garrard 10/09/2021

NICK GARRARDRevd Canon Nick Garrard
Nick is Rector of the Rockland Benefice in the Bramerton Group (Bramerton, Rockland St. Mary with Hellington, Surlingham, Claxton, Carleton St. Peter and Kirby Bedon with Whitlingham) and Bishop’s Officer for Christian Spirituality through the Creative Arts

Recently we held a candlelit vigil for Afghanistan in our local churchyard. Having watched harrowing scenes from Kabul airport on the news, eighteen people came together in near darkness to share our concern, to pray and hope. Candles were handed out and lit as we held in our hearts the grieving people of Afghanistan, all refugees or those attempting to escape. We also remembered members of our local community who were bereaved, wounded on military operations or changed forever by experiences suffered there
dove leftSoon after the vigil began, I noticed that our candles would struggle to stay alight. There was nothing to shield their flame. This would have worked on a still evening, but the wind gusted and swirled around us. We had to concentrate on the candle flame all the time, moving our hand around the flame as the wind rose and fell and changed direction. Mine blew out several times, and we all had to either relight it from a central candle in a glass jar or turn to a neighbour whose was still alight
This says something significant about how we may live through this time and help others. It will be hard to be a candle in the wind. We will need others to hold up their light when ours goes out. We can encourage them by offering our light when they are in the dark. As a Christian, I must remember always to return to the central source of light, the one that never went out. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1 verse 5)
Dove rightAs we watch the end of democracy in Afghanistan on our TVs, we can only wait and pray for what will take its place, because every ending is also a beginning. When I brought our children home from school on September 11th 2001 and saw the Twin Towers burning in New York instead of the scheduled children’s programmes, I wondered what kind of world they would grow up in. Nearly thirty years earlier, as a child myself, I watched images of the fall of Cambodia and Vietnamese refugees desperately clinging to the skids of US helicopters in Saigon. Perhaps you can remember some of those times too. As we enter this new time for Afghanistan and the wider world, let us hold up God’s light of compassion, hope and generosity for all who need it


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