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While working in a city centre church in Glasgow, I was a chaplain to a primary school.
Teachers taught respect for all and expected everyone to be polite to each other.
One day, after the calm and supportive atmosphere of the class, a child was met by an older sibling who yelled from a distance something like, ‘Come on, hurry up, we’ll be late!’ The language was more descriptive and it was obvious the child was living between two cultures, two communities, that had very little in common.
Around the world today, there are many conflicting cultures and communities – for example, Afghanistan today, oh dear God!
In the school were expectations that each individual would make time for the other, to help each other understand academics and how to live together for the fulfilment of everyone.
Most parents and communities want this for their children and adults. This ancient desire is shared across all humanity.
Where does it come from? Many believe it rooted in a being or force described as ‘God’ – the constraints of language and minds go no further.
Early in the Bible, through Moses, God says: ‘Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.’ Jesus added: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
We each have a responsibility, a part to play. It is through respect and love for others and the realisation we are all teachers, parent, neighbours, part of something bigger than ourselves, that communities and nations will thrive. God knows this and will never stop trying to get us to realise that.
This is my final reflection. In your lives, may you all know, in some way or another, the blessings and love of God.
Reverend Fiona Ogg.