Sometimes we have to fight the bear!
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
John 15: 12-17
As we approach Easter time we naturally begin to think about the Sacrifice made by our Lord on the Cross!
With that in mind I wanted to share a true story that was shared with me by a Pastor of a Church from Tomsk in Western Siberia! The area around Tomsk is home to the East Siberian brown bear which have increasingly become more accustomed to the human presence in the towns and cities and will when they are hungry enough venture into the towns to seek out food- they have also been known to attack people!
One such incident occurred when a family from the city of Tomsk were out walking through the city and came across a large male adult bear. The bear seeking food ran towards them clearly with the intention of attacking the family- As the bear approached the family the father of the family ran towards the bear shouting for his family to run- the man attacked the bear resulting in him sadly being killed- however his family escaped safely!
The clear picture from this incident is that the father/husband stood between his family and danger and sacrificed himself so they could be safe and live on.
When we consider this incident and think about our own lives and the lives of our friends, families, colleagues and the people we interact with that there are ‘bears’ that each of us have to face ourselves- it maybe Loneliness, Depression, Anxiety, Homelessness, Hunger, Debt, fear or any number of things that cause us fear or distress. Sometimes in our Policing lives we called to stand between the public and danger- we have seen only recently Pc Keith Palmer tragically lost his life placing himself between members of the public and a man intent on killing.
The very nature of sacrifice is that one gives of them self for another – this is a true act of Love that we can demonstrate on a daily basis. Every single one of us in a position to give of themselves to help someone else- it doesn’t mean that we have to face a knife wielding man or actually fight a large bear- it does mean however that you if you can should try and help those around you who are troubled or in need of help!
Every single one of us will probably know people around us now who are going through troubles- and many of us will be in a position to help those people who are troubled to face their individual ‘bear’. We recently were in a position to help someone who was facing severe and unexpected financial hardship- the choice we had when we identified the problem was to either:
1. Do nothing practical and offer support.
2. Do what we could practically to help them through the issue!
We decided on option 2 – we were able to provide them a small amount of financial support, engage the services of a local food bank to provide them some food and other essential supplies but also we were able to offer support in terms of prayer and friendship as well as finding them a local support group to help them- we helped them face that bear!
Very often when we are troubled it can feel like we are all alone and not worthy of help- to know that someone cares, is not only paying attention to our troubles but is also practically helping us is truly reassuring and can make any problem seem not quite so bad! When you see the change that can be made in some one’s life because someone else took the time to care and try and help it is amazing- the work of organisations like CAP, Street Pastors, Street Angels and so many others shows that we can all make that difference to people!
What a difference to us that Sacrifice made at the first Easter made:
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’
When we consider the sacrifice of the very first Easter it is truly wonderful to know that Jesus loves us so much that he sacrificed himself for us- that he faced our bear for us even though we didn’t really deserve it! So this Easter and this year be the person who helps others face their bear, make a difference be the one who makes that sacrifice for someone else!
So from the all of us and our families we wish you all a blessed Easter time!