Autumn has very definitely arrived.
We are past the Autumn equinox; the days are getting ever shorter and the leaves are changing colour fast.
For those of us who find the shorter days a depressing thought, we need to take heart that Spring will return.
For now, let us be content that harvests have been safely gathered in.
But how are those harvests going to be shared? Will our society truly ‘build back better’?
Will we as a nation share our bounty with poorer nations in new and life-changing ways?
It has been amazing to see how different communities up and down Derbyshire have responded to the immediate needs of the refugees coming in from Afghanistan.
The more difficult thing maybe is to put out the hand of friendship as these families settle in our communities. We may not speak their language, we won’t ever understand fully the experiences they have gone through, but as Christians we have the example of the Good Samaritan to follow.
We need to overcome our fear of difference.
Jesus used this story to emphasise that our neighbour is literally anyone, not just our kith and kin.
That was shocking for the crowds to hear in Jesus’ day and it might be uncomfortable for us, but as the prophet Micah said in the well-known verse: Micah 6:8
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
As Christian communities here in Derbyshire let us take every opportunity to answer this call to sacrificial love.
And a prayer for us all to pray to end:
in your mercy, and for your glory, renew us, reshape us, revive us – generous love, courageous hope and life-giving love – that in transformed lives, through growing church and building community, we may see your Kingdom come and be good news for all.
Rev Canon Peter Walley
Acting Archdeacon of Derby