It is a few decades ago that, as a spotty teenager, I used to go the Saturday night dances at the old Wem Town Hall
I kidded myself that I looked like Marc Bolan, but on reflection I probably looked more like a youthful Mr Bean
A few weeks ago though I put on my best pair of jeans and a comfy t shirt and I went dancing again
The music was amazing all the old favourites were played, Dancing Queen ,ymca, etc etc alongside the incredible gangham dance
The DJ was superb but what really made the evening was not the music or the DJ or the lighting but the company.
Some of the dancers were in wheel chairs ,others had Down’s Syndrome ,or epilepsy ,cerebral palsy or autism but my goodness they knew how to have fun in joyful and uninhibited ways …to use a dancing metaphor……. they were having a ball
In the middle of this joyful ,noisy musical chaos ; my attention was drawn to a man who I knew could not speak, and who obviously found communication very difficult. I watched as he walked slowly from one side of the room to the other , over to the most damaged child at the disco ,a child confined in a wheel chair with severe and profound learning difficulties, and with a caring look on his face, that man took the child’s hand and held on tight .
I have to tell you I learned something about love that night ..it was for me a Holy moment 2 damaged human beings sharing love, and I can only marvel, and as one of your colleagues puts it Mike ,Take my hat off to humanity
I have been desperately sad to read stories about what happened not far away at Stafford Hospital or at Winterbourne View ,or stories of abuse in church ,or of killings in Syria stories of the inhumanity human beings are capable of showing each other
This is wrong
The very first book of the bible – Genesis – declares that every man and every woman bears God’s image; that the whole of humankind enjoys this indelible privilege and responsibility. That is a very radical thought
Everybody, every human being is made in God’s image and therefore every human being is of infinite value to God and therefore every human being has value and we should treat each other well
The strange thing is that as my experience at the disco proved very often the people society would regard as damaged have understood and indeed celebrated this profound truth in a way that more intellectual and more powerful people often fail to do.
As someone put it we are in danger of moving from a society that values people and uses things to becoming a society that uses people and values things
We can change that if only we will learn the lessons my friends at the disco were teaching me
Whatever you are doing today
Whether your shopping or playing football ,spending time at home or walking in the countryside How will you treat your fellow human beings ?