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Care for those in need (31.12.21)

Care for Those in Need by Gina Radford

Vicar in Devon, having been Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England

An abiding memory of 2021 is standing outside on a cold, damp day, blessing a tree planted in a care home garden as a memorial to those residents who died of COVID. Braving the elements were residents, families, friends and staff, many of whom had come in on a day off. Just one small way of making sure that we won't forget not only the sad deaths, but also the selfless and wonderful care the residents were given, mostly unseen by the outside world

This care, these acts of kindness to some of our most vulnerable in society, have been repeated again and again all over the country during this past year.

Reading: Matthew 25:34-40

'Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my famil,y you did it to me." '


I find myself in a dilemma at New Year's Eve. On the one hand I should be welcoming the New Year with great celebration, yet I don't want to brush the old year aside as the countdown begins. There is no doubting that 2021 has been a challenging year, and most of us look forward with hope to 2022. Yet there are some things in this last year I don't want to forget, and want to take with me into whatever the New Year brings. Chief among these is what Jesus speaks about in today's reading: those small acts of kindness and care - 'small things with great love' as Mother Teresa described them.

Whatever our feelings may be as we come to 2022, let's not forget what we learned from this past year: the importance of doing small things with great love - particularly for our most vulnerable members of society.

What do you want to bring with you from this past year into the new one?

How, practically, can you respond this year to Jesus' call for us to care for those in need?

Good King Wenceslas

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