The Cross is an aid: the Cross as an aid.
Both make sense, both could work.
The link is this week and last, because last week, so many people were generous in supporting British Red Cross and, this week again, generosity will have flowed as so many supported Christian Aid.
Both are fantastic charities; both have their origin in Europe; both came about as a result of the horrendous acts of warring nations being healed by acts of Christ, like compassion, love and care.
One hundred and fifty five years ago, in June 1859, during the Battle of Solferino in northern Italy, the alliance of France and Sardinia under Napoleon III clashed with the Austrian Army.
A swiss businessman, Henri Dunant, who happened to be passing through Castiglione, saw such savage injuries that he offered acts of kindness and healing to soldiers injured on both sides of the conflict.
He decided to invert the colours of his own nation’s flag, Switzerland, which has a white cross on a red background, to become a Red Cross on a white background as the symbol of this new movement, offering love and sympathy and kindness, irrespective of colour, religion, country.
Similarly, Christian Aid’s origins lay in the final days of the second World War, when so many refugees in Europe were homeless and stateless.
An Army Padre called the Reverend Douglas Lister, who just happens to be a predecessor of mine as Minister of Largo and Newburn, spoke to his Commanding Officer about their plight and was given the green light to help them – and he did!
His action, together with others, laid the foundations for aid, Christian Aid, to be given to these sorry people and the name stuck, from the late 1940s to today.
The Cross as an Aid: The Cross is an Aid.
It was Marvin Gaye and Tammie Tyrell who sang a favourite of mine a few years ago, ‘What the world needs now is love, sweet love.’
In the midst of war, such as in Syria today, and in peace, people like you and I need love and we need to offer that love – in hospitality, in generosity of spirit, in war, in medical care, in educating our young, in our work and in our sport but most of all, in our attitude.
Christian Aid and British Red Cross offer, from the heart, Christ-like love and care, emanating from the hearts of men and women who wanted an absence of war and wanted most of all the message from the most cruel and unkind execution method which man has devised, crucifixion, to be the means of uniting people, recalling another sacrifice of a 33-year-old whose Cross that day was indeed Red.
Soon after that terrible day, two of the victim’s friends were walking when they encountered a stranger on a seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus.
When they arrived at their village home, they invited the stranger inside, saying: “Stay with us; it’s almost evening. The day is over.”
As we remember British Red Cross Week and Christian Aid Week, these special charities, I would encourage you all to stay with them and support them, just as those two disciples asked Christ to stay with them as He stays with all of us, everywhere and every day.