Out of Place?

Written by Anthony Douglas on 02 December 2018.

FeathersAh, Ireland! The Emerald Isle, home to a well-loved accent, entertaining stories of leprechauns, the beauty of Celtic Christianity, and a monument to a tribe of American Indians.

Normally, a nation celebrates its home-grown heroes, or others who have played important roles in the establishment of the country. It may mark its gratitude to other nations or cities for help at critical times. But it is very odd indeed for a nation to memorialise a tiny people group from a different country, from a different continent...

Midway through last year, the ‘Kindred Spirits Monument’ was unveiled in the town of Midleton in County Cork. It honours a decision taken in 1847 by the Choctaw nation. Having heard of the Great Hunger, a famine in Ireland that stretched from 1845-49, they raised $170 to send in famine relief. They knew themselves what it meant to suffer, having been evicted from their ancestral lands in the previous decade at the cost of thousands of lives, and they felt sympathy for the suffering of the Irish poor.

It’s a beautiful story of human kindness, isn’t it? Something that has been honoured by the people of Ireland many times since, and for good reason. We can only admire the grace of those who are beggars themselves making it possible for beggars to find bread.

It was, of course, the Irishman C. S. Lewis who used that image to describe our task in evangelism. In sharing the gospel, we are showing a grace that can win the world’s admiration! It is not out of place to love others.

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