May 2019

Originally published in the King’s Stanley Magazine.

Most people will never have heard of Candice Payne, but she featured in news reports back in February because she rented 30 hotel rooms for homeless people to stay in during this winter’s icy snap in Chicago. Others joined in and over 100 people were helped.

Kylian Mbappe, who is a famous footballer, donated £27,000 to the appeal to help recover the body of the pilot whose plane had crashed into the sea with fellow soccer star Emiliano Sala on board. Once again, others joined in and over £150,000 was raised.

These are two examples of kindness which are reminders of how people generally recognise our common humanity and are willing to help others in their time of need. A similar example that impressed me was hearing of how a young couple who could not afford IVF treatment were given the funding by a group of mums who had heard of their situation.

The list could go on and on, reminding us of good news stories, of goodness and kindness.

What do those who help have in common?

If we were to single out one quality above all others, imagination would surely be up at the top of the list. Candice Payne imagined what it would be like to freeze to death and she did something to prevent that happening to others. Kylian Mbappe imagined how the missing pilot’s family must be feeling and made his donation. Those mums imagined how they would feel if they were in the same position as the childless couple.

One powerful story that Christians remember from Holy Week is the foot-washing. It appeals to the imagination, telling how Jesus poured some water into a bowl and washed his disciples’ feet. That was what a servant would do. Jesus then explained that he had been setting an example. “You, then, should wash one another’s feet.” There are sometimes symbolic re-enactments of this story on Maundy Thursday, but we can see a link from this example to those imaginative acts of care and compassion that we began with.

Looking ahead, Christian Aid Week runs from 12th-18th May. In its own way it is about “foot-washing,” about using our imagination and being compassionate through whatever donation we feel able to give. It will offer a chance to help those who are our neighbours in poorer parts of the world. Meanwhile, may we be blessed when we offer love and compassion to those in need in our locality.

With Christian love,

Robert Draycott (Rev)

About Robert Draycott

After training at Regent's Park College Oxford for the Baptist Ministry I was ordained in 1976. My first Church was Wollaston in Northamptonshire. Then our whole family moved to Brasil where I served with the BMS in a variety of roles including teaching Theology and Biblical studies in Campo Grande. From 1992 -2010 I was Chaplain and Head of RS at Eltham College. I was Interim Minister of Eltham URC 2012-14, before moving to Gloucester in 2015.
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