We’ve been having a sort out and have several bags of unwanted clothes and shoes which we needed to take to the local Refuse Recycling Centre. A relatively easy task, you may think! However, the road to the centre has been closed for months whilst a bridge is being repaired/rebuilt ready for the advent of HS2. This has meant a four-mile detour and added to that the council decided that because of the traffic problems they would operate a car registration plate recognition system; odd and even on alternate days. Now, unless you checked the website, it wasn’t clear as to which day your car could arrive, as there are an odd number of days in the week so many have been turned away. At the beginning of this process, when the centre re-opened after lockdown, folks were queuing for hours to deposit their refuse and there was one man, in particular, whose registration number ended in 0. ‘You can’t come in sir’, said the attendant ‘It’s only even numbers today!’
He replied. ‘0 is an even number, so is 10 and so is 20!’, he replied. The attendant would not let the man in even when he parked his car outside the centre and tried to take in the refuse himself. I don’t know whether he tried again on an odd day but it is likely that he would have been refused entry again.
Who are the people in our society who count for ‘0’, who have no rights, no entitlements – the homeless, the refugee, asylum seekers? Some of these people have been turned away again and again because they do not fit into a certain category, yet they are important to God. God loves them just as he loves us. It is up to us to show compassion, to highlight their plight, to mend the bridges, to reflect God’s love for them and to show that in God’s Kingdom all are welcome and that everyone of us counts.
I’m off to take our refuse to the recycling centre now. Thankfully, we can now go on any day. I just hope the bridge has been mended!