Everyone deserves a safe place to call home and it is a sign of a compassionate community to welcome the stranger. So it is good news that over the last few days the UK has welcomed refugees from Calais. However I have been surprised at some people’s response to this act. Their comments have sought to dehumanise people and promote discrimination.
In June Truro Cathedral was home to an art installation by Imran Qureshi. From a distance it looks like a pile of rubbish – up close you see that it is made up of individual pieces of paper – each one containing a beautiful picture of part of a garden. Imran Qureshi’s art installation (After which, I am no more I, and you are no more you) reminds us that it is only when we get close to people that we understand them and appreciate them as individuals.
Thomas Merton became a Cistercian monk because he wanted to escape from a world filled with wicked people. But a few years of religious life, he went to the local town one day to have something printed, and the scales fell from his eyes. He wrote in his diary,
‘Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts… the core of their being, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more greed.’
Let us get up close to see the beauty of people rather than comment from a distance. Let us #changethestory.