Thought for the week23rd October – Valuing others

The news last weekend was dominated by the murder of Sir David Amess, the MP killed during a routine meeting with constituents. This brought back memories of a few years ago, the killing of Jo Cox, another MP. Both lost their lives by simply doing their job, as elected representatives of us all.

Politics thrives on debate and argument. MPs can expect to be criticised for the views they hold; on occasions it may be appropriate to offer personal criticism, if for example, they say one thing and do another. But, from what I can see, this is uncommon; most MPs have integrity. What we (and they) should not do is to use language that degrades their humanity; I worry when I hear words such as “scum” or glib judgements that “they are all the same”. They are not; each is a human; in Christian terms, a unique person in the image of God.

From a book I have recently read, I understand that in Zulu, “sawubona” is a greeting; its meaning covers seeing and recognising a fellow human. The response “shiboka” can be translated “I exist for you”. The authors of the book make the point that when a Benedictine monk meets another person, the monk bows to face the ground; this is an acknowledgement both that God is within that person and that they and the person they have met share the same earth. These truths apply to all we meet, whatever we may think of them.

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