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Daily reading: 19 August

More of your kind of compassion.

Something to read

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, 'Lord, my servant is lying at home paralysed, in terrible distress.' And he said to him, 'I will come and cure him.'

Matthew 8, 5-7 New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

Among many in Capernaum that day, there would have been little sympathy for a high-ranking 'enemy' from Rome’s occupying army. Why should he be helped?

Yet here is an enemy with some heart. He is willing to seek human compassion from a low-class member of a subdued people… and what is it that moves him, in that moment, to call that person 'Lord'? He speaks not for himself, but out of concern for the pain and distress of his servant: not a social equal, but one of his household.

The centurion simply states the need. But in doing so, he opens up a new conversation and new possibilities.

In our time, not all needs are popular. Some charities have money streaming into them, while others struggle. We may feel quickly and instinctively moved to help some causes. Other charities have a tougher job, asking us to help the needy who might make us feel awkward or even threatened.

Something to do

Think about charities that might struggle for support or funds. Find out a bit about a few of them and the work they do. Based on what you discover, you may want to send one of them a donation.

Something to pray

Lord, give me more of your kind of compassion. Help me to look beyond my own prejudices and assumptions. Help me to respond appropriately to genuine need, just as you did, and to see it where not everyone thinks or cares to look.

Today's reading is based on an original contribution from Just Living, a fresh expression of church in Devon devoted to the Christian pursuit of justice for the poor and closely linked to Christian Aid.