It is the combination of hundreds and thousands of individual ballot slips that add together to make a national decision. On its own, my vote may not have a great deal of power, but combined with others, it may make a meaningful difference. This is the power and the force of being in a community. We can and do achieve things on our own, but when we combine our strengths, talents and energies, we can really create or destroy something significant. When we look at different protest movements, we can often identify one individual who is credited with starting it all off. However, it is by sharing their ideas and values with other likeminded people that things start to happen. We might have been having the same thoughts for a while, but when we hear someone saying our thoughts out loud or taking some action, however small, that we have wanted to do, it gives us permission and courage to join in.
This month, our worship theme is ‘What does Yahweh require of you?’, which comes from the prophet Micah 6:8. The answer is ‘To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ Throughout the month, we will be focussing on the many ways that we can do these things, and make a difference to those in need around us. At a local level, we are collecting for The People’s Kitchen – dried and tinned food, toiletries, underwear, socks and sanitary protection. Homeless people and others in need directly benefit from the items we donate. On Sunday, we mark the start of Christian Aid Week. Our donations from eating cake make a difference in countries where the basic needs for living are often not being met. A few years ago, the Christian Aid slogan for their campaign was ‘We believe in life before death’, reminding Christians that the ‘here-and-now’ matters as well as the ‘hereafter’. My cash donation, however small, helps people to move beyond survival towards having a life. We act justly and show mercy, pound by pound by pound.