Weekly message – Sunday 10 May

Rosemary RichterDear friends,

One of the positives about not being in a rush is noticing little things. Coming back from the daily walk yesterday I saw a forget-me-not in bloom near our garden path.

It sparked off memories. When we left my first circuit a young boy who had been at pre-school and school with my son gave us some forget-me-nots to plant when we moved.

Well before that, I went back in time to my childhood, and the old Sunday School anniversaries we used to have as children. One year the theme was flowers, and my friend’s little sister was supposed to say the poem about the forget-me-not, but she froze. The two of us who had rehearsed it with her had to say it instead, and I remember the last bit: ‘the name thou gavest me, alas I have forgot – Then looked the Father kindly down, and said ‘Forget-me-not.’

‘Dear God, the name Thou gavest me,
Alas! I have forgot.’
Then kindly looked the Father down
And said: ‘Forget-me-not.’

We certainly shouldn’t forget God in all our circumstances at the moment.

Nor should we forget all those who are hard-pressed at this time.

Among them, one set of people who are suffering are carers of those with dementia, as their access to times of respite in a day or for a week, or groups that provide support, are no longer fully available. The flower used as a symbol by the Alzheimer’s Society is the forget-me-not.

On 12 May we remember Florence Nightingale as it was her birthday. She died in 1910, and years ago when I was the minister of Wellow Methodist Church, I officiated at a burial in the East Wellow churchyard where, unbeknown to me, Florence Nightingale was buried and her family memorial stands.

It had to be explained to me who the inscription applied to that contained only the simple initials ‘FN’ and dates. At that time people in their nineties remembered seeing her funeral cortege pass by when they were small children. We have Nightingale hospitals – thankfully not needed soon hopefully – but we remember the NHS fighting for the survival of people under her name and inspiration.

It is Christian Aid Week next week, and we should not forget that while we may be going through difficulties, the poorest people in the world are much worse off during the Covid-19 crisis. T hey are at greater risk of all the things our people are suffering – food shortages, lack of work, education and medical help, losing their homes and shelter.

Charities need our help more than ever but our normal house-to-house collection cannot happen. Christian Aid ask that we donate on a JustGiving page, and we can do this for the Carshalton area so that the amount raised is visible as usual.

We should not forget those who are persecuted. I was given information from Wallington Churches Together about Leah Sharibu. She was one of 110 girls abducted from their school in Dapchi, Nigeria by an offshoot of Boko Haram in February 2018. The next month, following negotiations by the government, the surviving girls were put into vehicles to go home. However, Leah wasn’t among them. She wasn’t released because she refused to convert in exchange for her freedom. We are asked to remember Leah on 14 May, which is her 17th birthday.

So many people we should not forget. We can go on, and you may have many to add – let us know.

Whoever else forgets us, God will not:

But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you – never.
Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.
Isaiah 49, vv 15b-16 (The Message)

Every blessing,
Rosemary


Next message: Sunday 17 May