“This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival.”
Over the weeks of Lent, we are introducing you to a number of the refugee friends JRS accompanies. They have been telling their story in all its mix of grief and loss, celebration and deliverance.
As you accompany them each day, what memories does it evoke in you from your own life?
Florence’s Story – Part 5
Since leaving Uganda, many of Florence’s family have passed away. She was unable to travel to see her family and mourn with them, as she is still awaiting a decision on her application with the Home Office.
When she speaks about Uganda and home, it is often about the weather. For many of our refugee friends who do not have a secure place to stay, the cold British winter can be terrifying.
“Back home, it is very very hot, all the time it is shine shine, it is too hot sometimes.”
Read the next stage of Florence’s journey tomorrow.
Pray with the Office of Readings
The Office of Readings is an extended prayer service involving the singing of Psalms and the reading of two longer passages, one from the Bible, the other from the writings of the saints and the Church’s councils. It is a veritable treasure trove of Christian spirituality. It is celebrated first thing in the morning each day by priests, religious and many lay people.
Today, we invite you to join Damian Howard SJ in reflecting on the Daily Office on Readings. You can read the readings on Universalis.
“The Office of Readings is following the exodus story. Today the Church remembers the Passover, the night when God’s angel visited Egypt in order to liberate His people from bondage. The angel passed over the land, claiming the lives of the first born, sparing only the homes of the Israelites who had hurriedly celebrated the special Seder meal that evening. It’s a hard but moment to remember but it’s deeply poignant. Practising Jews re-live it faithfully every year when they celebrate the feast of Pesach, knowing that what God did for them that night was the beginning of the freedom they enjoy to this day.
For those of us who live in freedom, it’s easy to forget how precious it is. It’s only natural that we take our privileges and rights for granted. Every day we go about our business free from coercion, leading the kinds of lives many millions all over the world can only dream of. There is nothing wrong with that; we are fortunate. But the Passover is a reminder every now and again simply to remember what might have been, to bring to mind the reality that others face.
Remembering a past event, however important it was, may not in itself seem to be that transformative. But for Jews, and so for Christians, the memory of what God has done is the foundation of everything else. It changes in a way both subtle and profound how we see our own reality. It makes us that bit more aware, that bit more grateful for what we have received. And after a while that filters through into the way we live, the decisions we make and the kind of people we become. So today, let’s turn our minds consciously and deliberately to the plight of those to whom freedom is denied.”