3rd May 2024

It will be 20 years tomorrow, 4th May, that I moved into my flat. In a short while it will become the place where I’ve lived longer than any other in my life. It’s my haven; it’s quiet and cosy; somewhere I can relax completely; where I can read, study and write without interruption; and surrounded by things that have important meaning and memory for me, plus quite a few plants, and lots and lots of books!

When I wake in the morning, I often say a ‘Thank You’ for this home of mine – the roof over my head, a comfortable bed, clean water in the tap, food in the fridge, and clothes to wear. We hear of so many who do not have these things; who are prepared to leave all behind, sometimes even their loved ones, in order to be free from war, persecution or poverty.

When I was training at Bristol Baptist College, the college community – tutors, admin staff, and students – gathered for worship and Communion every Wednesday evening. I remember one occasion when we were invited to come forward and ask for prayer for someone or somewhere in the world, whilst putting a lighted candle on that place on a world map. As others named different situations and positioned their candles, who might I name? When I placed my candle, it was nowhere on the map, but off to the side. And my prayer?… for all the ‘stateless’ persons in the world, who tonight, and every night, have nowhere to call home.

David Bell