I wrote Altruism as a tribute to a close friend of ours, Margaret Hassan, who was head of Care International in Iraq. In 2004 she was kidnapped and murdered, probably because she was obviously a Westerner.
But it seems that today it speaks of the amazing courage and skills of NHS staff, paramedics, and so many volunteers who also 'give to you'.
In the quiet, a sound is heard
So gentle, you have to reach to hear it.
In the clamour of busy-ness
Amid the explosions of fearful conflict –
Scarcely able to blow out a candle
Comes a voice.
Listen to the sounds of now, and through them,
Within them, sometimes buried beneath, it begins…..
Then it resonates, louder, louder, louder
through earthquakes, and war zones,
through cries of barbarism and indulgence,
it grows –
I give to you.
And when all are satiated with taking, and getting,
and squabbling for more – the voice can still be heard –
I give. To you.
Strangers giving themselves, to
Simple words made real in acts of love –
We are offered the gift – given in love.
There is no reason for us to have it
Except that it makes us stand a little taller
There is no reason for us to be given it
except that each of us is unique
This act of giving speaks still.
It speaks as flickering of light
The act of giving is at the expense
Of energy, health, time and even life itself
Yet it gives nothing but itself
to a people who have everything.
It gives nothing but love
to a people who can’t even love themselves.
It gives hope to people in despair.
It gives with no desire to get anything back.
In the understated quietness
The giving brings forth new life.
The reflections here are written by members of our congregation.