Faith that does not make a difference to others is a self-indulgence.

The first Commandment is to love God and the second is of similar importance, to love our neighbour. Our lives are spent working out what this means and how.

Facing Outwards is the third movement in our dynamic- as we seek to live for God in the world as God has given it to us.

Covid has made it more difficult to help- many of us cannot do the helpful things we used to do – and it has also led to different challenges. Some of us are finding life much harder, some of us may feel we are passed being active and out there, and rather wish we could do more.

I was sent this picture of the Manchester skyline – the city and the hills behind; taken from the Team but reminding us that outwards means ‘outwards’.

We should have a concern for the whole diocese, for the whole of our boroughs and area.

Our prayers should take in our leaders, local and national, political and business.

There are things we can affirm, things we will differ on, and things that are not right and these we must challenge.

Facing Outwards without seeking God’s perspective is missing a dimension, as is Facing Outwards without an inner reflection and awareness. Those of us who do not have the burden of big decisions may not know the challenges and complexities. Armchair critics, or even prayer-critics can be self-righteous or hypocritical.

But if that is one challenge, the other is that we are apathetic; we are doing ok here, and more concerned for “us” and “our” than others.

We cannot change everything and we probably cannot make big changes, but we can be aware, we can be prayerful and we can look at how we can give more and support more; a letter of support to an activist working for good, or a gift to a Refugee or victim can make a lot of difference.

Today you could look at how much do you give to others;

Thank God that you can give that – how much more maybe could you give?

How else, or to whom else might you give, whether time, money or things?

Isaiah 58: 10 is a challenging verse – written in the context of what is true religion.

If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like of the noonday

Facing outwards is not easy, it is more than a donation or two, it is spending oneself, being changed in the process – but when we feel hurt or unappreciated, or at risk we can turn back in, we may curl back up. We can be dispirited, we can feel alone, we can feel we are not making a difference.

Maybe you can encourage those who are out there – you can pray for them – you can thank them.

Let us commit to facing outwards and giving outwards today, but not just today.