Who is my neighbour? A letter from the House of Bishops
“Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John chapter 13 vv 31 – 35)
The House of Bishops have issued a document entitled ‘Who is My Neighbour’ to assist in the thinking and discussion taking place prior to the General Election. Click here to read it in full
We hope that you will read this document yourself and then find ways to encourage others to read it and consider it prayerfully.
There are of course major issues facing us as we move towards a General Election. It is not our place to tell people how to vote. It is our place to encourage people to use their vote and to highlight issues which we consider to be of great significance.
As we begin this season of Lent and move towards Holy Week when we rightly focus on the events of the last few days of the life of Our Lord, some words from the conversation Jesus had with his disciples seem very appropriate.
From the work done for the Feeding Britain inquiry it is very clear that there are deep suspicions and divisions between people in our country today. There are few if any of the community links that used to exist and we live in an individualistic and atomised society. Sadly there are signs of this within the church as well as elsewhere. We live at a time when many people appear fearful about others rather than wanting to show hospitality and friendship. We live at a time when there are great inequalities in our society and as Christians we do have an imperative to speak out and act on behalf of the poorest and most disadvantaged in our communities.
For us as Christians we live by the values of faith, hope and love and so we inevitably want to work with others and to offer love and friendship to our neighbour, to all.
As we move towards the General Election we encourage you to enter into the debates and ensure the voice of the voiceless is heard, ensure the love of God is in focus and ensure we do ask each other about the values which underpin our lives and the behaviours we display which should of course flow out of our values.
We pray you have a good and holy Lent and that the document will engender prayerful reflection and appropriate action