It’s been fascinating to follow the saga of the diverse, international group of passengers who have been stranded on a Russian ice-breaker, trapped in an ice floe in the Antarctic. As I write, they are being rescued by a helicopter operating from a Chinese ice-breaker, ferried to an Australian ship currently in clear water, which will then take them to New Zealand, from where they will be able to return home. It’s a brilliant example of co-operation.
In the beautiful yet hostile environment of the Antarctic, there has always been the corporate sense of duty and obligation to help others who are in difficulty. No matter how careful you are, tomorrow it could be you needing help!. At such times, race, colour, creed, ethnicity, nationality, and any other divisive means of classifying humanity you care to mention, is set aside in the interests of mutual survival and care for fellow human beings in need.
We live, I believe, in a wonderful, God-given creation, and we are blessed with a share in that creativity. However, we also have the potential to make the whole of our wonderful planet just as hostile as the Antarctic, whether through lack of care, lack of foresight, or plain nationalistic greed. Perhaps we need to consider that in some ways we are already living in a potentially hostile environment – climate change, war, famine, to name but a few factors – and that it’s time to set aside our divisions; time to start co-operating – for everyone’s sake.
by the Revd David Smith, vicar of St George’s Tuffley & St Margaret of Scotland, Whaddon, and Area Dean, Gloucester City Deanery