Last week I celebrated Candlemas with the children from St David’s Primary School in Exeter. We thought about darkness and those places we had been when there was no light. We talked about what it made us feel and the children spoke about fear and loneliness. I spoke about disorientation and the ability to feel alone and lost.
I then asked what could we do to reduce our fear and help us find our footing in the dark ?– of cause the answer came turn on the light!
Traveling along the Grand Union Canal last year we entered into the Braunston Tunnel. The Braunston Tunnel is 2,042 yards (1,867 m) in length. Built by Jessop and Barnes, the tunnel has no towpath and is 4.8m wide by 3.76m high and it is very dark! However it only takes a small amount of light to give orientation and direction.
It is often our small actions which can bring light into the lives of people – the way we say good morning, looking out for the person who lives next door, calling someone up who lives on their own – small ordinary actions which make an extra ordinary difference.
But the challenge for us is not just to do this for people who we love or are like us but also for those who are different – the stranger and the refuge – event those who hate us.
In Australia in the wake of a terrorist attack of the gunman in a Sydney café they began to see an Islamic phobic backlash. This sparked support for Muslims in a campaign called #I’ll ride with you.
It was started in Facebook by Rachael Jacobs, who said she’d seen a woman she presumed was Muslim silently removing her hijab while sitting next to her on the train: “I ran after her at the train station. I said ‘put it back on. I’ll walk with u’. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute – then walked off alone’. Thousands of people have now joined the spontaneous campaign, offering to meet Muslim people at their local stations and to ride with them on their journey – small actions bringing light.
Next week is Valentine’s Day let us think about we can do to bring light to others and not just those we love!