Dear Friends

I have many duties which fall to me as a daughter and granddaughter.

When my parents are away I am often on taxi duty for appointments. I am also regularly on tech support for my mother and grandparents. One of my other occasional duties is to explain a word which has come into common parlance in the last few years. The other day my mother asked me what the word ‘woke’ means.

You may have heard it batted around as an insult towards those considered a little bit too soft and left-wing for someone's taste. When a policy is floated, which gives rights to those on the margins of society, someone might say that it is the act of the ‘woke police’.

Without descending into the mire of politics, or even ethics, it is difficult to explain what such a loaded word might mean. So I will just quote from the Oxford dictionary online.

Originally: in a state of awareness or vigilance; well informed, up to date. Now chiefly: alert to (from the word ‘awake’).

In other words being woke in the more political sense is to be alert to, or awake to, the struggles and injustices in the world. Ergo it is not a bad thing.

I know that if you are reading this you are likely to be someone more than capable of educating yourself to understand the perspective of someone different to you. And as a Christian I believe that being awake to the issues which affect others is the beginning of compassion.

Being a Christian means that we do not have the privilege of burying our head in the sand where there is injustice or suffering. We are the hands and feet of our God of love.

Having said that there can be a kind of paralysis that comes when we look at the state of the world. But thankfully God did not ask us to fix everything. Instead he tells us this;

“Consider the lillies”.

And that comes in its wider context within a passage of teaching about worry.

Jesus says to the gathered crowds “don't worry about your life- about what you will eat or what you will drink or what you will wear”, he tells them to “consider the lilies”- their effortless beauty and the provision of God to all of His creation.

I hope by now that you know that loving God and loving our neighbour are the first two commandments. And I think that love for God and love for neighbour both begin by being alert; being awake to big issues, and being alert to the seemingly insignificant joys of the day; because all of them will point us towards the goodness, glory and love of God.

The big picture, the big issues of the world may overwhelm you, but at least let's be reminded today that our God of infinite power and might tells us to pay attention. Let’s not let life pass us by being inattentive, lets spend our days ‘considering the lillies’ and being woke!

With my love as ever,

Jules x

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