Well-meaning exhortations to stay safe and warm have been falling as thickly as snowflakes recently. Part of me is tempted to respond with a crisp reference to the Letter of St James, but that would be mean-spirited and curmudgeonly. I think of those who are much worse off than we are, who really have nothing to complain of: those sleeping rough, those without adequate heating or with empty store cupboards, those too weak or ill to do more than pile on another blanket (if they have one) and hope for the best. Throughout the U.K., mainland Europe and the eastern seabord of the U.S.A. there must be many thousands shivering their way through the day’s misery, and this is not one of those problems that can be solved by the intervention of an aid agency or some official support service. It can only be alleviated by human kindness, by simple, personal acts of love and concern. Staying safe and warm is not just for those who are rich enough or able enough to ensure that they remain comfortable whatever the weather. It is for everyone.
So, the question for today is, how can I help those who aren’t safe or warm? Do I even know who/where they are? This is where today’s Lenten almsgiving begins for us as a community, and perhaps for you, too.