Pondering for Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Readings for Charles Freer Andrews Priest and “Friend of the Poor” in India 1940

Psalm 113:2-8 Deuteronomy 15:7-11 Ephesians 2:13-22 Matthew 23:8-12

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19)

I don’t think Charles Freer Andrews cared that the people of India were not Christian even though he himself was a Priest of the Church of England. He saw them as “citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God” as spoke of in the letter from Paul to the Church in Ephesus.

He traveled to South Africa to help the Indians there in their dispute with the Government, and it was then that he met a young lawyer named Mohandas Gandhi.  Andrews was impressed with Gandhi’s teaching of non-violence and with his knowledge of the Christian faith, and helped him establish an ashram, or Indian hermitage, devoted to the practice of peace. (Great Cloud of Witnesses for February 12)

Andrews made a second visit to Fiji in 1917 and although reported on some improvements, was still appalled at the moral degradation of the indentured laborers. He called for an immediate end to indenture and the system of Indian indentured labor was formally abolished in 1920.

About this time, Gandhi reasoned to Andrews that it was probably best for sympathetic Britons like himself to leave the freedom struggle to Indians. So, from 1935 onwards, Andrews began to spend more time back in Britain, teaching young people all over the country about Christ’s call to radical discipleship. Gandhi’s affectionate nickname for Andrews was Christ’s Faithful Apostle, based on the initials of his name, “C.F.A”. He was widely known as Gandhi’s closest friend and was perhaps the only major figure to address Gandhi by his first name, Mohan. (Great Cloud of Witnesses for February 12)

Charles teaches us that all of us truly are “citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19) If every man and woman took the time to imagine being in the place of a person or a people in a subservient role in our midst we would then question how we treat them.  How would we live and raise our families when treated as second class citizens?  We all need to look around and see the other, and then “be” the other, for just a little while.  Perhaps then we can see how we, as a society, are treating them. And then, like Charles Freer Andrews, do something about it. Praise Jesus.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John

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