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Who is my neighbour?


“Just over a week ago, in fact the day before the referendum, thousands of people gathered in Trafalgar Square. We had come to remember someone whose life and practical vision did seem worth holding onto. The simple words that were quoted again and again that afternoon were these: ”We have far more in common than that which divides us.” At that vigil for Jo Cox, a young mother, a compassionate and by all accounts inspirational politician – brutally murdered in the deluded name of patriotism, the words of this poem [For Love] by Dorothy Oger were read.

There was a crowd of thousands who heard this being read, but as we heard the words of this poem there was total silence. “I shall stand for love.” I scribbled the words down on my hand. I knew they were important, worth writing down, more than that, as the life of Joe Cox testified, worth giving one’s life for. I shall stand for love.  I was particularly struck by the second line. “I shall stand for love, even with a broken soul and a heavy heart.”

This is what Revd Richard Carter of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London, wrote in his sermon of July 3rd, 2016.  I had the honor of visiting St-Martin’s later on, spending some time with the refugees that the Church and volunteers welcome on Sunday afternoon for a shower, a meal, a wash of clothes and a chat.

Later, Revd Carter and Samuel Wells edited a book entitled “Who is My Neighbour? The Global and Personal Challenge”  based on lectures given at St Martin’s by very distinguished, varied and inspiring speakers.  Contributors include Sarah Coakley, Brendan Cox, Stanley Hauerwas, Justin Welby, Rowan Williams and others.  Richard Carter’s contribution includes the poem “For Love”.

Here is a review of the book in Church Times.

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