How big is your world?

Published on: 1 July 2017

British Gas adverts over the past few years have suggested that the world we need to look after extends only as far as the walls of our own home. But is that true?

It was closer to the truth when Jules Verne’s nineteenth century suggestion of getting Round the World in 80 Days was an impossible dream: yet travel today enables us to reach the other side of the world in hours. The very first circumnavigation of the world took over three years in 1519, while today’s astronauts in the International Space Station see the entire globe every 90 minutes.

Our world has shrunk so that we are no longer amazed that pictures from thousands of miles away can be beamed live into our sitting rooms and the internet makes neighbours (and even friends) of people we didn’t know existed: with the various forms of social media, we have instant communication. With all this privilege of modern technology comes greater responsibility and we are challenged to ask again the lawyer’s question to Jesus “Who is my neighbour?” We can no longer ignore what is happening on another continent and the challenge of the gospel doesn’t allow us to demonise those we don’t understand.

In recent years, there has been a trend back to nationalism and away from a recognition that we all breathe the same air, that we share the same planet, that we are members of a single human race.

Our fallen humanity pushes us to look after ourselves first but, in encouraging us to find our true selves, Jesus calls us to put others first and reminds us that greater blessing comes in giving than in receiving.

This challenge to engage with the world, whether our neighbour is a few yards away or thousands of miles away, is the way we live out the Eucharist in practice. The final part of the service is called “The Dismissal” and without it, the Eucharist is incomplete. We are dismissed in the sense of being sent out, in the words of the Prayer after Communion, as a living sacrifice, to live Christ’s risen life, to bring life to others, to give light to the world, so we and all God’s children will be free and the whole earth will live to praise God’s name. When that is our prayer, and having been nourished by the body and blood of Jesus who gave his life for us, we are dismissed in peace to “love and serve…”

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Articles in this issue...

Who is my Neighbour? Supporting refugees and asylum seekers in our Diocese

The Diocese has been making short films that celebrate what churches across the Diocese are doing to promote the gospel and show God's love. Tim Rogers describes the experience of making his first film of this kind.


One Day with Pat Atkinson

Known as "Patamma" (Pat Mother) to those she works with in the Dhalit communities of southern India, Pat remembers one significant day of of the many over the more than 50 vistis she has made while establishing The Vidiyal Trust.


Changing a nation one person at a time

Stoke Holy Cross Church is a small rural church in South Norfolk. When our vicar, Rob Baker, initially introduced the idea of twinning with a rural church in Uganda, through the New Wine and Tearfund Change a Nation initiative, we felt it gave us a fantastic opportunity to be directly connected to a Ugandan village and help to change peoples’ lives.


Lulea twins: Thetford and Holmsund

Have you ever thought about twinning your parish with a similar parish in Sweden?


East Harling & Ave – sharing life lessons

The Revd Lynn Fry and her husband Tony spent eight months in Papua New Guinea as guests of the Anglican Church and returned there last Autumn to continue their work in the theological college in Popendetta.


Burkina Faso and Norwich: a community partnership

Three years ago, under the umbrella of the Norwich Christian Aid group, different churches joined together to form a 'community partnership' with local communities in the north of Burkina Faso.


Engaging worldwide

Many people in the Diocese will be aware of out long-standing links with Lulea in Sweden and Papua New Guinea. What may come as a surprise is the extent of further links recently uncovered. The Revd Canon Christopher Davies explains.


From China to Cawston – lessons in Mandarin

In September 2016 Cawston Church of England Primary Academy started an international project using a weekly Skype link with a language school in China.


Rethinking mission for the twenty-first century

We share an inter-connected world. Everything we do in our local community potentially affects the whole world, and everything that happens far away can have an impact on our neighbourhood. The commonly expressed truths that we love on 'a rapidly shrinking planet' and in 'a global village' make ideas like 'local mission versus global mission' irrelevant: the local is the global and vice versa. The Revd Dr Evie Vernon, Theological Adviser to the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) asks where this leaves us.


Being Christ to others

For many, the word mission will bring to mind images of people in poverty somewhere overseas. In my experience mission starts much closer to home.


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