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Ideas to Inspire

How to change the world

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the needs around us, but we can all make a significant difference, says Penelope Wilcock


he electronic revolution has brought the whole world into our living rooms. In a dry, warm, comfortable room we sit down with a cup of tea and a snack to

watch a murder mystery – not so late in the evening as to incur the likelihood of scenes of graphic sex and torture. There, in the advert breaks, the relentless footage of big-eyed children, abused here at home, starving abroad, standing lost and bedraggled in the displacement camps of theatres of war. And here are we, our economy shored up by big sales at arms fairs, and our commodity prices kept low by overseas sweatshop mass production. It’s dreadful. We feel guilty; we lose heart; we don’t know what to do.

We pray, of course – but our prayers

are like soap bubbles when the money in our purse and our votes at the ballots go to further human misery and inequality. And however we might strive to insulate ourselves – if we turn off the TV, stop taking the daily paper, put our fingers in our ears and shut our eyes – nevertheless we will continue to be part of the human race. What goes around comes around. In a sinking boat, it’s an idiot who gives thanks to be sitting at the end still sticking up above the water. We who have little power and influence,

and are short of spare cash – how can we help? Three big problems face us: climate change caused by unsustainable human expansion; violence, whether in private

Three ways to bless the world God made

Plant new trees They stabilise the earth, protecting against both drought and flood. In Africa, enquiry reveals the people fear climate change above war and disease; with good reason. Trees are their greatest allies. Support the charity Trees For Africa (www.trees4africa. org), as well as The Woodland Trust ( at home.

Help those no one else is helping There are some who come under the auspices of no charity or government scheme. The student living away from home the first time. The young couple who’ve bought a house but now struggle financially. The old person, still independent but hard put to carry shopping up the hill. Help them.

Always seek to be kind The living core of your work on this earth is the kind of person you are. If you are kind; if your happiness is not a mood but a discipline; if you cultivate the habit of a smile and a friendly word, you will carry Christ’s light with you wherever you go.

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homes or actual war; and the ordinary vicissitudes of life that bring suffering – old age, sickness, ignorance, inequality and poverty. As we consider how as Christians we might

make a difference, these are the areas where I think we might best focus our healing love: the nurture of the earth, sowing the seeds of peace, and doing what Jesus said – loving our neighbour. That is, starting with where we are and radiating outwards. And, console yourself with this: not only

are you not God and cannot accomplish everything, but as some wag said, “You can’t make everyone happy – you are not pizza.” It is so, but walking close at the side of Christ’s peace, the joy of your salvation will surely make a difference.

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