Posted: 02 April 2014

Lent: Poverty of relationship

Have you used our BenevoLent app? It's a fun tool that allows you to calculate how giving up chocolate, clothes or anything, really, can help our work supporting vulnerable young people.

This Lent we’re offering challenging resources to help you pray, reflect and discuss what poverty means for children and young people. Today Krish Kandiah from the Home for Good campaign reflects on the poverty of relationships.

10,000 missing parents

I miss my mum. She died three years ago and although I was in my late thirties at the time, I still feel a huge hole in my life. 

My mother's unflinching belief in me helped me when the racist bullies tore strips off me at school. 

Her quiet dignity and radical generosity showed me how to keep going to school when I was told to ‘go black home’ on a daily basis. 

Even now, hardly a week goes by that I don't wish I could phone her and let her know something, ask her opinion on some matter, or just tell her I love her. Mothers are invaluable.

Parents' importance

There are thousands of children who have been taken away from their homes because their birth families can't or won't look after them. 

Christians used to try to solve the problem of missing mothers by running orphanages, and in some parts of the world we still do this. Both the Bible and our experience show that families, not institutions, are the best place to raise children. 

Psalm 68.4-6 (citation)

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
  lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—
his name is the LORD—
  be exultant before him.
Father of orphans and protector of widows
  is God in his holy habitation.
God gives the desolate a home to live in;
  he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
  but the rebellious live in a parched land. 

This is a powerful passage of Scripture as it comes in the middle of a psalm normally sung whenever the Ark of the Covenant was moved. The psalm challenges Israel to avoid thinking of the Ark as a weapon of mass destruction, but rather, this psalm asks Israel, Who is the God of the covenant?

The majestic God who cannot fit into a box because he rides on the clouds is the one who has compassion for the most vulnerable. He comes not just to meet the material or spiritual needs of the child in care he comes to meet their relational needs. He is ‘a father of orphans'. He uses his power not on behalf of the powerful or wealthy but to defend the cause of the marginalized and broken.

If we claim to love the God of the Bible, then something is seriously wrong if there is a single child in our country in need of a family. 

Yet we have thousands of children in need of families on our watch. 

Most of these children are waiting in foster homes longing for someone that they can call Mum or Dad forever. There's also a need for more foster parents to help these children who are in transition.

Read more about Home for Good, a campaign to make fostering and adoption a significant part of church life.

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By Krish Kandiah - Guest bloggers

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