Christmas is here … where are you?

Christmas lights have been on the horizon for a few months now; increasing in brightness as they edge slowly towards us. Their multi coloured brilliance filled us with hope and joy that many would now consider false.

Christmas is upon us. The world is in pain. Where are you?

From Sydney’s Martin Place to Ferguson and the Bronx, violence is flashing at each turn. From Pakistan to Cairns the lights of evil and pain shine brightly. And here we are, just a few days from Christmas.

Let’s celebrate love this Christmas.

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Australia: Land of the fair gone

Australia is a young nation, it cannot be argued. You could even go as far as saying that we are still finding our feet.

A nation born of petty criminals dragged from old mother England against their will. Australia is known as the land downunder, a place to start again and where dreams come true. But can Australians still rely on their mates?

Is it now every man for himself?

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Are we still the land of the fair go?

As a nation we voted in a political party who championed the phrase “stop the boats”, the divide between rich and poor inevitably expands and have you noticed how hard it’s become for how beloved charities to get people to donate or “help a mate out” as it may be.

Perry Como and The Jets sung “Love is what makes the world go round” but that was in 1958 and in America “the land of the free”. Fast forward forty-five years and it is my personal opinion that like most developed nations, Australia is ruled by greed.

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Money is driving Australia and the ones who have it are at the wheel.

With what evidence can you make this claim you ask … Immigrants now face tougher conditions to enter the country and life for them is hardly ‘fair’ once they’re accepted, the cost of real estate and the financial benefits to investors are killing “the great Australian dream” and the backbone of our community (as I see them), teachers, are still not valued by Australian society.

Do I need to continue?

I won’t … but the question is still being asked and the discussion will undoubtedly flow. If you’re keen to listen and take part Wesley Mission are holding a discussion panel 20 March 2014, tickets are $20 and available here.

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All laid out

The warm sun kisses his bare skin, it infiltrates past his outer layers and warms his soul. Laid flat on his back, he seems totally relaxed. His eyes are closed, his feet are bare.

In his own mind he could be anywhere…but he wasn’t, he was laid out on the street. Filthy and alone.

Laid out on his back, his shirt has risen up above his stomach exposing his skin to the sunlight. Unfortunately, the sunlight is the only positive in this image.

His skin is marked with baked dirt and where it isn’t it’s covered with scars. The souls of his feet black as the night and most likely tougher than steel.

I say “most likely” because I didn’t get close enough to tell. I was just another passer by.

I saw but made  no attempt to help. I cannot justify my actions no matter how much time I had left on my lunch break, regardless what meetings I had booked.

I failed. I failed to fulfil my responsibility as a human. 

That could be me. Laying on the ground, hundreds passing me by. His eyes were shut but I bet he could hear every footstep that passed, and didn’t stop.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8 

It doesn’t make up for my failure but at least I have spoken. Consider those unfortunate on the street as human, worthy of your compassion. Do not disregard them as simply part of the urban scene.

SENSE

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The scene included below is one I saw earlier this week but before you view it, let me set the scene.

The yellow building you see in the background in a Westfield shopping centre in Sydney’s CBD. This particular centre is filled with luxury branded shops including MIU MIU, Armani, Saba and Oroton. The tiles are glossy the ceilings are mirrored and the clientèle is obviously wealthy. Compare this to the man on his knees, barefoot, begging…desperate.

Shamefully, a common scene

It was a winter morning during peak hour, I stood and watched for a few minutes. City workers all seemingly in uniform, Jacket, scarf and matching scowls passed this man.

100 passed, not one stopped. 

The man had a cup out in front of him, his hands clenched together. His goal was to get enough for breakfast that morning , the 80 cents in his cup wouldn’t do. I bought him some toast and a coffee but this post isn’t about giving money to the poor or feeding those who are hungry. This post is about respect.

Out of the 100 that passed this man, I wonder how many gave him a second thought.

So the man (I wish he’d have given me his name), said a couple of people had dropped coins in his cup and that he was thankful for that but what broke my heart was that I was the first person that had spoken to him that day. I understand a lot of people have issues letting go of the money they worked hard earning but can we not spare time to say hello?

This man is homeless but he also human.

If you can’t spare some change for someone who is desperate enough to beg spare some time to speak. Tell them, you can’t spare some change but you wish them well. No one chooses to be reduced to begging for change but we can all be part of the change.

Whilst all the talk in Australia regarding the homeless is about the criteria for homeless and whether to extend that or not, I think this matter is irrelevant. One fact will always be fact, regardless of the classification criteria… the homeless and human an should be treated as such.