Before Christmas I was involved in the 'Share the Hope' project, a sort of Advent Calendar with a difference. People signed up to get an email each day or see the posts via Facebook & Twitter. Each post had a bit of the Christmas story, from scripture and a reflection on the theme of Hope, which were given by a host of different people. Anyway we're looking at repeating it this year, but I thought it would be good to do the odd post throughout the year to keep people thinking. So this week, the theme is Share the Love - as it's Valentines Day obviously! I thought I'd repost it here - there's lots of challenges you can do to share some love this week and it's certainly got us thinking.
Today we left a gift of a bunch of flowers for a stranger to find. We sat in a coffee shop looking for a suitable place to hide them without being seen, eventually we decided the bus stop was a good place, and it wasn't long before someone picked them up. We left a note and inside wrote a card explaining why they were there… I hope someone was blessed by them.
If you decide to do any of our 'Valentine's Shares', I'd love to know how you got on...
|'Loving Your Neighbour' - a Valentine's Reflection|
I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that the shops are full of pink and red again, the price of flowers has gone up and the local garage has got slightly old chocolates at half price. Yes, Valentine's day is just around the corner, so this week we thought we'd send you a little reflection on love.
Valentine's Day - the season of luuurrvvveeee… or not, as the case may be. Whether you are a big romantic and like nothing better than stocking up on all the heart shaped tat you can find, or you’re a 'bah-humbug, it’s just a commercial nightmare' type then here’s something to think about as Valentine's Day draws near…
So, what is love really all about? The bible tells us that ‘God is Love’ and Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God, the second to love your neighbour as yourself. So this week we are encouraging you to think about what ‘loving your neighbour’ means to you. It doesn’t have to be the man 2 doors down, more, just your fellow human beings. So whilst that might be your actual next door neighbour, it could also be the chap who gets the same train as you each day, or the woman you sometimes see in the library, or perhaps it’s the person behind the till at Tesco, or the group of people sat on the park bench with their special brew. These are all our neighbours. How often do we consider these neighbours, on the fringes of our lives? How often do we walk past someone in need without a second thought?
So this Valentine's Day we want to encourage you to get sharing again. This time we're suggesting you share some love (and a bit of hope too!) with your neighbour. What can you do to brighten someone else’s door and show some love this Valentine's Day?
We've put together a list of 14 suggestions below (or you can come up with your own brilliant ideas) and the challenge is to do as many as you can before the end of Friday. And we’d love to hear how you got on, so do email, Facebook or tweet us!
1. If you are a regular commuter or train user, offer your seat (if you’re lucky enough to get one!) to someone else.
2. Buy a bunch of flowers and leave them somewhere anonymously with a note, for the first person to find them (you can tweet/FB us a photo with #sharethehope if you want to give a clue as where they can be found).
3. Give a compliment to a stranger - you might just makes someone's day!
4. Leave a nice cheery note for the milkman/postman/window cleaner (or all of them!)
5. Make a cake for your colleagues at work (or buy them - if you can’t cook that’s no excuse!)
6. Write a thank you letter to someone who has inspired you in your life - perhaps an old teacher, friend or colleague, I am sure they would love to hear how you appreciated them
7. Invite someone who you know will not enjoy Valentine's Day round for a bite or a cuppa and a chat
8. Offer a hug to someone who needs it
9. Share a bag of sweets with someone you don’t know - you might make a new friend!
10. Visit someone who is housebound
11. Text/Tweet or Facebook a friend to tell them you value them
12. Take a gift round to an 'actual' neighbour and say hello. If you’ve never met your neighbours, now is the chance!
13. Say hello to the person at the bus stop and ask them how they are doing.
14. Greet the first 5 people you see on your way to work with a cheery ‘hello, good morning’.