Lent 2, 28 February - 6 March 2021. 'Pain and hope'
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (verse 21, NRSV)
Child's drawing from Yida camp in South Sudan in 2018, home to refugees from the Nuba Mountains. Used with permission from Waging Peace, a charity supporting Sudanese refugees in London and helped by LCRF grants.
The disciples listening to Jesus in Mark’s Gospel could not comprehend His terrible message of suffering, rejection, death and resurrection. Only after He had risen and they were filled with the Holy Spirit did they receive the courage to go out and teach all the nations of the earth His message of life-giving hope.
Today very many innocent people are enduring terrible suffering as a result of war, often inflicted by their own people. Waging Peace is dedicated to campaigning against genocide and human rights abuses in Sudan, and supports those who have been forced to flee their country to escape the civil war and are trying to build a fulfilling life in the UK. Many end up in the hands of human traffickers in Libya, and are sold into slavery. Some are drowned crossing the sea in inadequate boats. Even if they reach the UK, they may spend months or even years, alone, separated from their families, fighting to be believed and accepted. It is often very hard for them to retain any hope in the future.
But God wants all of us to be able to hope. What can I do to help?
This week's material written by
Robina Rafferty, LCRF Trustee.
The picture is one of many drawn by child refugees. They experience events no child should see. They have watched their mothers shot while going peacefully about their daily life, fetching water from the well; bombs dropped on their fathers while they ploughed the fields. They have been forced to flee their homes and country. Many are orphans.
Find time to think of a child you know, white or black, close at hand or far away. They may be going through difficulties at present, but most live in happy, secure families, as God intended. And then think of the children who are suffering throughout the world, traumatised, deprived of their childhood, uncertain of their future.
And now take those feelings into your daily life, and respond.
God of Peace, be with all those who are traumatised by the effects of war. Heal them in body and mind. Take away their fear, and lead them to the hope and fulfillment that you want for everyone.
Help us to do all in our power to end war. Let us give heed to those who are suffering, assist them as far as we are able, and show them that they are loved, as You love all Your children.
Action for the week
Help a child today to flourish as God intends. Make a donation to LCRF or another refugee organisation for warm clothing for those finding it difficult to cope with this harsh, winter weather.
More pictures by children at Yida camp
And here's something you might do with your own children at home. Make some lovely aubergine dip in Sudanese style! See how Sonja got on with it, and find a recipe, on the Waging Peace Facebook page.