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Viewpoint from Rev Viv Ridpath 10/12/2021 

viv ridpathRev Viv Ridpath
Curate, Belton and Burgh Castle


Be Kind

When asked to write a Christmas message for a newspaper, Rev Ian Maclaren wrote  “Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle”. The paper added, “No message is more needed in our days of stress and storm, of selfish striving and merciless competition”. That was Christmas 1897
In a world that can sometimes feel like it’s filled with negativity and threatening to steal our joy, what can we do?  The Bible says:  “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour” – Romans 12:9 & 10
dove leftDid you get that?  “Outdo one another in showing honour” - respecting and supporting the other.  Imagine if we all respected and supported each other then, by default, we would all be respected and supported
What if the world’s good news got reported alongside the bad news?  How encouraged might we be if we heard that refugees in Cameroon had transformed their camp with trees alongside the news of climate-change induced fires… bringing us hope not despair!
What if, nations followed suit?  What if they tried to outdo each other in doing good instead of what they can get away with.  COP26 was an ideal opportunity leading the way to more
Dove rightWhat if, we learnt from our children?   Their Anti-bullying Week slogan ‘One Kind Word’ is all about showing honour.  It says “one kind word can provide a moment of hope… It can be a turning point - from the playground to Parliament…  Our actions can fire a chain reaction that powers positivity”.  We can be the people who love and act
This way of thinking can be challenging, especially when we feel hurt, deprived, resentful or yield to greed, lust, envy and so on, or just a general lack of caring.  I believe God understands the challenges we face, understands us.  That is why he sent his son, Jesus Christ, not just to be an example, but in his death and resurrection, to offer us forgiveness and a renewed life
The response to Covid19 has shown us how much good is in the world.  So, as we look forward to celebrating Jesus’s birth on Christmas day, could we outdo one another in showing honour and kindness as Jesus did and as Ian Maclaren would say today, “Be kind for everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden”?

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