Habitat NI, Chief Executive Jenny Williams reflects on Lent as a season to renew our commitment and strengthen our faith. "As we journey toward Easter, let’s travel as people of hope — hope for a world as God would have it, a world where everyone has a decent place to live."
“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” — Luke 10:27, NIV
I worked in London a few years ago and heard the phrase “mind the gap” every day as I stepped into and out of the tube (subway). Hearing those words so often reminded me that in our world, the gap between the haves and the have-nots is vast, and we are in danger of accepting it.
The gap is almost too large to comprehend when comparing our world of “musthave” gadgets and homes with rooms we don’t use with the lives of those who have to stand up when it rains because their roof leaks — or because they have no roof at all. I first connected with Habitat for Humanity in Northern Ireland, working beside people from deeply divided communities who put aside their differences to build walls together. I have since had the privilege of traveling with Habitat to many other places, and I remember all the Habitat homeowners I have met; they have taught me so much about faith and hope and love.
In Luke 10:27, the whole of the Christian gospel is summed up in just a few words: Love God, and love your neighbor. We are called not to mind the gap, but to help close it. We are to do everything in our power to demonstrate that every person is equal. That means we need to change how the world works.
Last year when I was in Mozambique, I met Clara, who, with the wider community, was a partner in a process that was transforming her life. I loved it when Clara showed us how to build her home. She was confident about how much sand to put in the cement and checked that we were laying the block well. Our lives couldn’t have been more different, but there was no gap. Everyone gave, and everyone received, and hope was at the heart of it all. Clara held on to hope for the future, which was built on the foundation of her new home.
Lent is a season to renew our commitment and strengthen our faith. As we journey toward Easter, let’s travel as people of hope — hope for a world as God would have it, a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Make your Lent an active one; consider some of the ways you can change how the world works.
Prayer (with thanks to William Barclay)
Heavenly Father, Your love for us is new and strong every day. May Your love grow within me this Lenten season so that I will see more clearly what loving You and loving my neighbor means. Give me today something of the love that was in Your heart, something of the help that was in Your hands. Help me to live in such a way today that others may know that I began the day with You and that I am walking with You. Amen.