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Cutting through the ‘noise’ of life – Refocusing during Lent

By Dr Sureka Goringe – National Director, UnitingWorld. 

“When I was a child, I would sit on my mother’s lap, and she would tell me the stories of our people. It meant that I’ve known who I am my whole life because I know my story.

“I’m so grateful for it because today it’s fading away. It’s harder for young people because of the noise of modern life.”

Ever since I heard this from Kim Allen, a youth leader with the United Church in Papua New Guinea, a UnitingWorld partner church, I can’t get it out of my mind. I think his words transcend his culture and speak into our current moment.  

At just 28 years old, Kim is responsible for around five thousand youth across almost ten remote islands. He acts as a facilitator to connect youth to the church’s work. 

“The challenges we’re facing are school dropouts, unemployment, early marriage and the impacts of climate change,” he told me. But the underlying problem affecting young people today is what he describes as ‘noise’.

“Young people are exposed to so much noise, with the internet, mobile phones, drugs, peer pressure, and music. They can’t focus.”

I asked Kim how he and his church are addressing it:

“The first step is to help them be aware of themselves and their lives as children of God,” Kim said. “With that awareness, we can then meet them at a practical level, training them to be good citizens, work against violence, and build up their communities. The church gives them hope and a solid foundation to be human. We see that as intrinsic to spiritual development.” 

We can all relate to that feeling of too much noise in our busy, modern world. I love that Kim’s antidote is having greater awareness of who we are as children of God as a first step to refocusing our lives.  

I know I don’t have to tell you how powerful that idea is, but I always find the reminder encouraging. When we see ourselves and others as created children of God, infinitely loved and valuable, our hearts are changed. We can’t ignore the cries of people suffering from poverty and injustice. We long to make a difference, and we find the power to do it through God and God’s people. 

I hope, like me, you find strength and encouragement in that thought because it’s a critical time to play your part however you can. We do that together at UnitingWorld and across our church during Lent. We reach out to others through prayer, living more simply and practising generosity.

It’s such a powerful time!

Pray – Use our prayer guide to pray alongside our partners as they address their communities’ challenges.

Live simply – Give up something in solidarity with people who have less.

Give – Donate or fundraise to help our partners fight poverty and injustice.  

Every prayer, action and gift makes a difference, not just for people overcoming poverty. Because when we work for change, we, too, are changed.

I hope you’ll join us for Lent Event this year as we seek to refocus our lives through prayer, simplicity and generosity.  

Head to http://www.lentevent.com.au today to get started. 

In hope and gratitude. 

UnitingWorld is the international aid and partnerships agency of the Uniting Church in Australia. It is a channel for people like you to connect with God’s work worldwide, collaborating with the global church to address the causes and consequences of poverty, injustice and violence. www.unitingworld.org.au


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