Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Helpless

There was an extraordinary photograph taken in 90’s of a vulture that landed near a Sudanese child on the verge of starvation, waiting for her to die so it could devour her.  When it was published it became a symbol of famine in Africa, moving many to outrage, others to pity and charity.

When I look at it though, I see something else. The child, weak and helpless, is quite unaware of the danger lurking behind it, it has other concerns. And most of the people on earth are very much like this helpless starving child, not through famine or lack of any means of preserving their physical life but because they are starved of the means to strengthen themselves against their very real and dangerous enemy

As our societies become increasingly godless, the people are easy prey for the enemy of their souls. They don’t know they have an enemy, they don’t know how to strengthen themselves to combat his wiles. They simply fall into every trap he lays. And yet we have been given everything we need to put the enemy to flight;- a prayer life, the sacramental life of the church, a community of believers and so on.

The photographer, Kevin Carter, won a Pulitzer prize but was always haunted by the event because whilst he had shooed away the vulture afterwards, he failed to intervene to save the child.

As Christians how can we intervene to rescue from death those around us, who whilst they may appear happy, successful and productive are devoid of the true life in God, spiritually emaciated and living in the shadow of a merciless creature, lying in wait to take possession of them at death. We too may be haunted by what we fail to do to prevent that. Perhaps prayer and bold witness to what we believe would be a start.

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