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Random Acts of Kindness

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 2 September 2012

In my job, I seem to spend quite a lot of time find ways to make events appealing for busy business people.  Faced with organising yet another event on community engagement, I shamelessly sought help.  “What about a ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ challenge?”  said Karen. “It’s really powerful.”

This turned out to involve getting groups of people to go out into the street and find ways to carry out 3 ‘acts of kindness’ in the space of 30 minutes or so.

I was pondering this cycling back to my office, when I pass a couple peering anxiously at a map and speaking in German to one another. ‘Ah ha! Time to try out a Random Act of Kindness’ I think.  I turn around and go back to ask them (in my rusty bad German) if they are lost.  They look completely baffled.  I try again in English.  Recognition of sorts.  They are trying to find Lambeth North tube station.  I point them in the right direction and get back on my bike.  We all wait for the lights to change.  “You speak German”, says the women.  “Yes, I do, but very badly” I say.  “It’s not bad”, she says and we go our on way.

Later, it occurs to me that the whole Gospel is about Random Acts of Kindness. That means as a Christian, they should be utterly second nature – a habit that we practice every day.  However there is a fine line between these and acts of mind numbing ‘doing good’, the preserve of those who feel obligated.  That’s why we need to Holy Spirit to keep us on our toes and remind us that the unplanned and the small can be just as powerful as the thoroughly organised and grand.

(with thanks to John Falcone, having read Sam Wells)

Sophie Tyler