Equality For All

Posted at 19:11pm on 4th June 2020

Thinking about the death of George Floyd, and the resulting protests against ethnic injustice, I’m reminded of a story from my childhood, which I’ve told in my latest book, Picked For A Purpose.  It’s Christmas, a year after the end of WW2, and we are living in Dover next door to a convent.  My cousins have come to stay with us and they have been given permission to take me, a four-year-old, to see the Nativity that the nuns have put on display in the church.  Here is an excerpt:   

“It's so beautiful I can't breathe.  Simon lifts me higher and props me up on his knee.  Chrissie says the dolls are the Baby Jesus in a manger, his Mummy, Mary, and his Daddy, Dophus.  Behind them are some angels.  I know they're angels cos they got wings.  In the front, there's lots of straw and some cows and sheeps.  It’s amazing.

“Simon puts me down.  We're in Next Door's church and there's crackly music and singing playing on a radiogram: Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head. 

“I know about the Baby Jesus cos Mummy says prayers with me every night when I go to bed.  Sometimes it's, Sorry I been a naughty girl today.  Please help me to be good for Mummy and Daddy tomorrow.  Sometimes it's, Please help all the children who haven't got no food.  And sometimes it’s, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

That one frights me, cos I don't want to die before I wake.  Daddy says lots of little children he knowed, when he was fighting the Germs in the war, died before they waked cos they didn't have enough food to eat.  Daddy says he used to give them money to buy food but naughty grown-ups took it off them.  So he and some of his friends who flied airy-planes used to buy the food their selves and get all the little children together to eat it, so's they could keep the greedy big people away.  He's kind, my Daddy.”

REFLECTIONS & QUESTIONS (from the book)

My father had been in a reserved occupation prior to the Second World War but, having volunteered for service, had relinquished his career in order to learn to fly in the United States Naval Air Station in Pensacola.  Stationed, subsequently, in Burma and India, he rarely spoke of the trauma he beheld there, other than the story recounted above.  On his return, once peace was assured, he resumed work in the Civil Service by taking up a post in Dover.  It was here that the first seeds of awakening were sown in my life. 

The kingdom of God is like a man scattering seed on the ground and then going to bed each night and getting up every morning, while the seed sprouts and grows up, though he has no idea how it happens.  The earth produces a crop without any help from anyone: first a blade, then the ear of corn, then the full-grown grain in the ear.  And as soon as the crop is ready, he sends his reapers in without delay, for the harvest-time has come.  Mark 4:26-29 

When we scatter seed in the garden, then like the man in the parable above, we cannot always explain why some of it takes and some does not.  The same is true of life!  We see it in nature and in nurture.  For some of us, the seeds of DNA and personality traits fail to grow, while the thwarted dreams of our parents may actually take root in our own lives.  Likewise, people of faith sometimes speak of coincidence as being God-incidents.  So while a coincidence might be described as random ­– an accident, chance, luck, fluke, or a twist of fate – a God-incident is thought to be an unexpected occurrence in which God is perceived to have had an influence.  Unlike a coincidence, it is seen, with hindsight, to have purpose.  And when multiple God-incidents occur, they may be seen to conform to a pattern, to be part of a bigger rationale.

Those who distinguish this pattern and observe the purpose behind it find it astonishing.  Which is why it never ceases to amaze me that in a family of non-churchgoers (what my father jokingly referred to as a family of heathens – though I should qualify that by saying 'so far') I appear to have been singled out for a life of discipleship.  But why should God pick me?  And from such an early age?

What a coincidence that we should have been living in rented premises next door to a convent at Christmas time.  And that my cousins should have come to stay and thus accompanied me to see a nativity for the very first time.  Or was it?  Could this have been a God-incident?  A seed of awakening in my life, sown by a loving God who wanted to open my eyes to his existence?  If so, it’s a seed that took root.  Eventually!

In Ephesians 1:4 we read, For he chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence.

Imagine!  God chose me.  He chose you.  And he did so long, long ago.  Before the creation of the world.  What a privilege.  How awe-inspiring is that?  The fact is, God didn’t single me out.  We’ve ALL been chosen to be adopted into his family.  It’s just that we’ve also been given free-will to decide whether to accept the gift.  Or not!

                                                                                   ~~oo~~

So what is it that has made me think of this story?  Only that, despite my parents’ lack of church attendance, I was brought up to believe in the equality of all human beings.  My father made it clear to me that he’d found it insufferable to have to watch children starving to death, and to do nothing about it.  Indeed, as I recount further on in my book, the fact that such injustice continued to exist decades later was of huge emotional impact on him.  Watching the TV news recounting stories of countries where wars, drought, and famine were occurring, he would weep.  And much later in life, when I was asked to take care of my parents’ home, garden and mail whilst they were on prolonged holidays abroad, I discovered that, unknown even to my mother, my father had, for years, been donating to charities that supported Third World countries.

His belief in the equality of mankind, and his support for justice, made a huge impact on me.  Like him, I talk to anyone and everyone, without thought for their colour or creed, or, indeed, for their rank or station in life. They are simply, like me, other human beings.  To me, it is plain, unadulterated truth that we are all created in the image of God.  Plus, for those of us who are privileged enough to live comfortable, secure lives, we need to give voice and financial support to those who do not.

Which is why I recently set up a website for the Christian Writers’ Group I lead, titled Shine A Light On Life, so that we may do just that.  It is also why I now wish to add a donate button on Facebook. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Comments:

Post a comment:

No HTML allowed. Web URLs will be auto-linked. Please stand by your comments; anonymous posting is permitted but not encouraged. Your email address will not be published, nor will it be distributed. Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the editor has approved them. They may also be removed without notice or explanation.

Related Posts

Posts on related themes:

My Latest Book

Picked for a Purpose

Available in paperback from my books page
Buy Your Copy

Find the Real You...

Start Now
Take a FREE
Personality Test

BBC Radio Devon Interview

Listen to me chatting to Dave Fitzgerald about my latest release, Chosen, on BBC local radio.

Recently On Twitter

THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF A STABLE STEPFAMILY: Counting The Cost - By Mel Menzies. It would be naive to think that fin… https://t.co/Ccwc5ReUOs
tweeted by MelMenzies
on 28th November at 15:58
Worth The Wait? – By barefoot and blister free https://t.co/E1b336hbLP
tweeted by MelMenzies
on 26th November at 03:09
RT @MelMenzies: - Voluntary work such as charity shops, meals on wheels, or training to man the local branch of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau…
tweeted by RADrebel43
on 21st November at 15:10
Follow Me on Twitter

Who's online?