February can be a gloomy, grey month. Yet.........
February can be a gloomy, grey month. Yet amongst this greyness the occasional sunny day and the growth of the early spring flowers bring bursts of light and colour. Many of us celebrate a colourful, loving and caring day called Valentine’s Day – the card shops are full of cards exclaiming undying love.
However unfortunately today there is increasing division in communities across the world, where love is not evident. We see this in the Ukraine and the Middle East and the many other countries still at war. It leaves us feeling at a loss as to how we can be of any help.
Today, there are still individuals and groups within our own communities who are routinely excluded. How can we help to break down barriers of suspicion and fear, and get to know the reality of people who are different from us, and show love?
As well as being Valentine’s Day on the 14th February, it is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, a period when many people choose to give up something or to take up something for Lent. I wonder how you might mark the season this year? Christians might read and reflect together on the word of God, and ask how we live this out in our lives. Many also might ask how we continue to learn from all that happened in the past. It is more than just our own individual responses that are needed: we need to work together, to create systems and societies that enable all to flourish, that challenge the suffering and injustice experienced by many.
I wonder if there are further ways in which we can all work together in our communities. Whether in the villages, the churches, our schools, our shops and pubs, throughout the many community groups and friendships, I believe that we need to stand together to make places where everyone can flourish in love.
Carol Neilson LLM