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Bishop Matthew Porter - 29/01/2024

Bishop Matthew Porter shares his Thought for the Day on BBC Radio Manchester - Sunday 28th January


Last week my wife and I went to the cinema to see the film One Life. It’s the remarkable story of Nicholas Winton who in the 1930s, as young Londoner travelled to Czechoslovakia, and encountered Jewish children fleeing from Nazi oppression. Horrified by the conditions, and concerned about their future, he decides something must be done to save them. So supported by his mother, he overcomes immigration hurdles, collects donations and finds foster families for the children he brings to England. Before the borders close in 1939 he saves an amazing 669 children. Fifty years later Esther Rantzen’s TV show That’s Life TV hear about what happened, and he is reunited on live TV with some of the children, now grown-up, as well as some of their families who are all alive because of him. It is a remarkable, moving film, that I thoroughly commend. 

Why did I like this film? Three reasons.

1st: it’s a true story of an ordinary person who does something extraordinary. He saw these children needed help and that he could do something. So he did. He wasn’t particularly well connected. He didn’t have particularly deep religious convictions. He and his mother, and a few others, simply had caring hearts, worked hard, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. 

2nd: it’s a story of salvation. Winton saved people – children – from Nazi death camps, giving them a future. Followers of Jesus like me see it as a picture of what Christ has done for us through his death and resurrection, giving us new life now and the promise of a home with him in eternity. And it’s a picture of what we’re called to do: to see people liberated from the effects of sin and sickness and suffering. 

And 3rd: it’s an old story that speaks prophetically today. It’s a story of refugees who needed rescuing. Of Home Office policies that were just too slow, and officials who seemed to lack compassion. Of oppressive regimes that needed confronting. And of prejudice that caused vulnerable people to be unjustly treated and often ignored. Sound familiar? 

This powerful film called One Life is based on the Hebrew proverbs that says: ‘He who saves one life saves the world.’ It stirred me to want to make a difference in the world. It will do the same for you: to change the world, one life at a time. 

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