Compassion fatigue

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward." Matthew 10.42


It is Christian Aid Week. With everything that's going on - elections, recovery from lockdown, life - one might easily let it pass. Having been through a pandemic, one might be forgiven for feeling a touch of "compassion fatigue". As an antidote I recommend reading Christian Aid's prayer diary. Today's entry concerns a grandmother in Kenya, who has to walk six hours a day with her donkey, in order to fetch water for her grandchildren. Allowing for waiting her turn at the well and filling her containers, that's still over two hours each way. Imagine how far you could reach in two hours...


Stories are harder to ignore than statistics, which is why we need them. They are also more emotionally stimulating. How does this story about a Kenyan grandmother, whose name is Rose Katanu Jonathan make you feel? And how can you turn those feelings into a practical response?


Overnight we might not be able to change the global economy, which gives rise to such injustices, but we can do something. Jesus promises a reward to those who offer even the simplest gesture of kindness to another in need. Indeed on another occasion he suggests that, when we do that, it is tantamount to serving him personally. Can we spare an act of kindness to relieve the suffering of the one who has taken care of our every need and given us eternal life?

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