On a recent foray to Soul Survivor week B I was lucky enough to squeeze into a workshop with a guy called Patrick Regan.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the name, Patrick is the founder of an organisation called XLP, a London based group who work with young people from some of the most deprived areas of the city.
Here’s how they pitch their own work: “XLP work with disadvantaged young people to provide a raised sense of self-worth, self-esteem and increased educational achievement, which helps individuals confidently and positively contribute to society.”
During Patrick’s workshop I was struck by his heart for the young people who XLP engage with. It was such a clear cut example of what I believe Jesus would be doing in today’s world that I simply had to share it.
One thing he said stuck with me in particular:
“Would you let your best friend live in a cardboard box? Would you stand by and watch as a friend slowly killed themselves with drugs? Of course you wouldn’t! Drug abusers need friends, homeless people need friends; young people with no parents need friends… they need people to love them, to stand up for them. It’s only when we’re willing to step out of our comfort zones and love people like we would our close friends that we can fully demonstrate the kind of life changing love that Jesus so radically taught”
I was hugely challenged by this. It spells out with such a harsh degree of clarity what is required of us as Christian people in the world: To go into the dark corners of society, with broken people, broken families, places full of anger, fear and uncertainty and love the hell out of them.
The social problems that XLP are trying to fight here in the UK resonate closely with the global injustice which Christian Aid and its supporters are trying to challenge: To stand side by side with the downcast, the downtrodden and marginalised.
Whether we’re called to love our community here at home or challenge the injustices we see on a more global scale, the notion of looking at everyone with the same eyes we use to love our friends and relatives is synonymous with the kind of radical love which Jesus taught.
For more information about the work of XLP check out their website here.
I’d also encourage you to check out this blog post on the concept of Ubuntu by our very own Rebecca Baron.