Page last updated - 27 June, 2019
New school uniforms need them.
Scouting and Guiding need them.
Hospitals and Nursing Homes need them.
Parcels and Letters need them.
Your favourite jar of jam needs them. . .
Have you guessed yet what I'm referring to?
Well, Wikipedia says this about them: They can be a piece of paper, plastic, film, cloth, metal or other material affixed to a container or product, on which is written or printed information or symbols about the product or item. Information printed directly on a container can also be considered . . . LABELING!
There has been quite a lot in the media recently about labeling -especially within the food industry -packaged food must display labels giving a list of all ingredients so that people with allergies can make an informed choice whether to consume the contents.
The Church cannot escape this food care -tomorrow at Trinity -when the District Synod meets, we will be consuming Gluten Free bread at Communion -thus making the central act of the church totally inclusive. As a church we want to be truly hospitable to all.
That brings me to other labels. . . I refer to the labels which are often invisible -they are the labels human beings sometimes give people, trying to put people into different categories because of the colour of their skin, their political persuasion, their sexuality or their faith and the many other labels we stick on people because they are different to us!
Last week we saw an outpouring of horror following the death in Northern Ireland of a 29 year old journalist -her death has actually made politicians and faith leaders, as well as ordinary people stop and think about the values Lyra McKee upheld. Her family used labels with which we can easily identify -she was, "A daughter, a sister, an aunt, a great-aunt, a partner, a niece, a cousin, and above all, a best friend and confidante to so many of us."
One person speaking of her said: " She was a smart, strong-minded woman who believed passionately in inclusivity, justice and truth.
Labels meant nothing to her -her philosophy will be used for a long time -that philosophy would be good for any who would try to label others -it's simple, ". . . the only way to overcome hatred and intolerance is with love, understanding and kindness."
We are made in the image of God -the God who made each of us unique,
Loves and values us all as his precious children.
As Christians, we don't need to wear a label, we belong to Jesus Christ,
who taught us to love our neighbour -no matter how different they are to us.
Isn't it amazing to know we belong and to try to help others to know they belong, too
-Now that's Radical Hospitality!
Must go -I need to label the cheese and fruit scones for Synod!
God Bless you and thank you for being unique!
With Much Love,
Rev. Sue Greenwood
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