Today: Monday, December 09, 2019

One World    (9/30/2018 )

During the Second World War when I was growing up - a long time ago! - our family lived for a couple of years in a remote part of England on a very small farm.  There were no other houses in sight, and the widow who ran the farm had never been further in her life than the nearest town.  Everywhere else was, to her, “foreign”.

After the war we went back to live in London, and the world suddenly got a lot bigger.  Since then I have been able to visit many other countries.  The world now looks very different from my early impressions of a distant corner of England with its tiny village, three cows and a few chickens.

I get nostalgic about it sometimes.  I would love to be able to recreate that simple, uncomplicated world, where the milk and the eggs came only a few metres from the fields around us.  What a different world we live in today!

It’s very natural to want to preserve precious memories and traditions, to hold on to our own familiar things, to resent intruders with their different ways.  We want to defend what is uniquely ours, whether it’s personal, or our own community or our national heritage.

And yet…  What space travel has shown us so powerfully, is that we live on one lonely planet, that despite all our differences, when viewed from space, this is one world.  All the travelling I have done has shown me that people are much the same everywhere.  We do have our differences, of course, but we are all people with similar needs and hopes, one humanity.

That vision of one world fits very well with the Christian understanding of God’s creation and with the message that Jesus died for all, not just some privileged individuals or group.  Probably the best known verse in the Bible says - “God loved the world so much he gave his only Son…” (John 3, verse 16).  God is concerned for the whole world, not just my world.

If we look out on this diverse world, saying, “my nation first”, that is a natural human reaction to difference.  It is however based on a limited vision of the world and a selfish desire to hold on to what we have.  Natural,  but not God-given.

Jesus told a radical story about a Good Samaritan (Luke 10, vessels 25-37), a despised, no-good foreigner who actually was more caring than the professionals of the home nation.  When he told the story of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25, verses 31-46) he talked about the need to care for the hungry, the thirsty, the foreigner, the poor, the sick, the prisoner.  There were no geographical limits.  in our one world, wherever there is need, we are called to make what response we can, to recognise we are part of one great family.

Narrow nationalism is short-sighted, selfish and dangerous.  We need a larger vision and a God-inspired love.


Jesus, you showed love and concern for all kinds of people.  Thank you that that love extends to us today.  Give me a world vision like yours.

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