Thought for the day 2 October

October – Black History Month

As far back as we can go in written human records peoples, tribes, countries (or maybe to be more exact their rulers or ruling elite) have tried to tell their ‘story’ in a positive way, sometimes being selective with information, sometimes presenting ‘us’ as the ‘goodies’ and anyone who opposes ‘us’ as the ‘baddies’. A more academic approach to ‘history’ tries to look at different sides to a story (being ready to challenge assumptions that ‘we’ have always been the ‘goodies’) and beyond that to the lives of ‘ordinary people’ (for which there is much less information). Many European countries have struggled to cope with stories of collaboration with Nazi Germany. Here in Britain and Scotland  we have to confront issues like the prejudice against Irish people, Gaelic speakers, Catholics, Jews, and attitudes to class and race. Britain wasn’t the only country to have a colonial empire, but it was the largest and most powerful. People all around the globe contributed to the wealth and power of the empire, but were not always treated as ‘family’. Their stories are rarely heard, their perspective on empire, and life before their land/people became part of the empire, is rarely heard, and their experience of being part of British society today is rarely heard. Black History Month is an opportunity to listen, to reflect, to acknowledge past mistakes and injustices, and to resolve to seek a more inclusive country

Lord, you see all that happens and has happened, you hear the ‘spin’ that governments and groups try to put on events and attitudes, the things that people try to ‘blot out’ because they are uncomfortable. Help us to seek out the truth, even when it is uncomfortable, and acknowledge past and present mistakes. Help us to listen to other people’s stories, and work for an inclusive community and world