A weekend with a Baroness.
I’d never met a baroness before, and I wasn’t disappointed! Baroness Caroline Cox (Caroline) was spending the weekend with us at Lansdowne, and it was quickly very clear that she is a woman on a mission. “If I’ve been given this position, then how can I use it to help others?” And so we explored together some frontiers of faith and freedom.
On the Saturday and Sunday Caroline introduced us to many of her modern-day heroes and heroines. These are displaced, persecuted, hard pressed people spread across the world. We ‘visited’ Syria, Burma, northern Nigeria, Sudan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and heard stories of desperation and hope, of persecution and praise. There is clearly so much evil in the world. So what can we do? “I cannot do everything, but I must not do nothing” was the repeating response for the weekend entitled ‘A Voice for the Voiceless’.
Caroline focussed on the work of HART – Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, who partner with inspirational organisations on the ground to make a difference in these troubled areas. She also spoke of applying pressure where she could at the highest level to raise these often ignored situations. That includes situations of concern in the UK, where secular and ‘faith’ agendas are so often anti-Christian. The wonderful truth she shared is that in the midst of these situations God is at work. Compassion and healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, new life in Christ, miracles of grace and protection.
The challenges for us who were blessed by the Baroness this weekend are many. In the words of an African brother, especially to us in the West: ‘If we have a faith worth living for, it is a faith worth dying for. Don’t YOU compromise the faith that WE are living and dying for.’ Lord, help me to stay true to you, and help me to speak up in a way that people will listen.
Caroline finished the Sunday evening with 3 encouragements:
· It’s not about your ability, but your availability to God.
· In God’s strength, always be prepared to cross a frontier of fear.
· Share the message of enthusiasm – God in us! Live the life of love.
The final words go to Pastor Simon, one of Caroline’s heroes (now with his Lord).
They call us a displaced people,
But, thank God, we are not misplaced.
They say they see no hope for our future,
But, thank God, our future is as bright as the promises of God.
They say the life of our people is a misery
But, praise God, our life is a mystery.
For what they say is what they see
And what they see is temporal;
But ours is the eternal,
All because we put ourselves in the hands of the God we trust.
(Experience of the weekend events from Dave Smith.)
Here are some images of the weekend events: