The events of the last two months have shaken the ground upon which we stand and rocked the foundations which underpin the fabric of our society and our world. The people of Ukraine have suffered such immense trauma and injustice in the face of a level of aggression which is alien to most of us. Sadly, the atrocities of war are a reality for so many people round the world and have now come a lot closer to home for us un the UK. Some of the young people, we at Oxygen work with, are refugees who have had to flee the horrors of war, carrying with them the physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.
Easter, for me, is a time to remember the remarkable life of Jesus, the sacrifice he made on the cross and to celebrate his resurrection and the opportunity it brings for peace, unity and hope. Jesus teachings and sacrifice challenge us to put the need of others above our own desires.
So, what ultimately drives us? Is it a desire to better ourselves or a desire to better the lives of others? Of course, most of us would acknowledge that we want to live in a world where both can be achieved at the same time, and have a vison of a safe, peaceful world where we can live together and work together with a common purpose, towards a brighter future.
But peace is not achieved by accident or by default. It is something which requires sacrifice, tolerance, service, good stewardship of the resources we have and wisdom in our use of power. We are all in a battle. For some in war torn areas, it is a battle between life and death. For those living under oppression and fear, it is about discerning the truth and finding the courage to speak. For others it is for the values, principals and policies that sustain the peace we are privileged to be living under.
Christ went into battle for us on the cross, prepared to sacrifice his life for us. The question that raises for me, is: What am I prepared to sacrifice to serve others, to protect the values and rights of others so that they can live in safety? There are of course many things we can sacrifice and many ways to serve on a variety of levels. Surely one of the easiest ways is to give sanctuary and support to those who are fleeing war or suffering and come to us asking for our help.
You can directly help some of those children and young people who have suffered through war, violence, and oppression, or through neglect, rejection or depravation. You can give them hope, by giving your time to train as a mentor or raising funds for our knife crime project, volunteering at the Oxygen shop or through prayer. You can alongside others, can bring hope and build towards a more peaceful world in the future. Click on the link below to watch a video by Alice on our mentor recruitment.
Please pray for those who are suffering and fighting to defend those who cant defend themselves. Pray for those sacrificing themselves, their time, their resources to help bring peace. Please pray for the work of Oxygen, our staff and volunteers and for the children and young people to whom we bring hope.