Year of Kindness

 

The Pope has declared 2015/16 a Year of Mercy – a year to celebrate God’s forgiving nature and stories of human care and compassion. We had a church meeting on 3rd January and decided to copy him – only we thought we understood the word Kindness better than Mercy.  What would that mean? We asked ourselves, and went on to say:

  • If we really believe in loving our neighbour we will tell the truth about others and avoid using stereotypes or caricature. Thus is specially important when talking about people of other faiths and races…
  • We need often to think before we open our mouths
  • We should pray for others more
  • We should be forgiving
  • We should meet other people across the boundaries – ie people who are not like us

And we decided to begin by:

  • Making kindness a focus for the whole year in preaching testimony, stories in worship and making kindness a focus for guest speakers
  • Taking care to look after each other
  • Speaking to others of life and joy
  • Getting to know, each of us, at least one of our Sister Church St
  • Starting a webpage on Kindness with our ideas and stories
  • Coming back to our next Church Meeting (on Valentine’s Day) with some ideas

Maggie Hindley has preached on the theme!

Please send in your thoughts and stories. Here are a couple for starters:

 

Bible

Kindness Password

In the old Bible English the watchword of the prophets (Hebrew Hesed) was translated Loving-kindness.  This meant the most godly and human bond which holds all the living Cosmos together.

Later on, Paul envisions this unbreakable Bond, by which God creates all relationship, as the shared Cup of Blessing, the life-blood of Jesus, attaching all of us to wellbeing as citizens of the good community:
“We’ll tak a cup of Kindness, yet

          For the sake of auld lang syne”.     (=eternity)

                             (Rabbie Burns)

 

The prophet (Micah) puts God’s side of the Bond:

“I require you

                             To do justice

                                        To love kindness

                                                  To walk humbly over the world”         

 

lovers_natural_1280

KINDNESS AND HOMES TO LIVE IN

From the minister’s Christmas reading, Danny Dorling’s Inequality and the 1%, which argues that allowing the greed of the very rich is bad for all of us

Kindness is a trait to be shunned and derided by those currently in power. Violence, action, force and what they call ‘civility’ is what is needed. Kindness does not help the poor, they say, and instead they offer the ‘tough love’ of sanctions. And if the poor die early, well they were weak and this is the survival of the fittest………………..(p. 191)

What is needed is understanding and generosity, hope and perseverance, but above all kindness………. (p.193)

St Andrew’s tries to show a little of this kindness by its involvement, as part of London Inter Faith Centre, with London Citizens. We were part of a listening campaign last summer that led to three shared targets being agreed across London to make housing kinder:

  • That a Living Rent be recognised and thousands of homes be delivered charging no more than that
  • That Rogue Landlords be dealt with firmly and swiftly
  • That developers be encouraged to sign up to a Good Homes Charter

More on the London Inter Faith Centre website: http://londoninterfaith.org.uk/action/london-citizens/