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My reflection this fortnight is based on the profound impact Christianity has had on the world, particularly through an examination of 1 Timothy chapter 6, verse 11.

One of my particular joys in life is making connections between movies and theology. As a parent, I have learnt over the years that sometimes children’s films have the most profound spiritual messages. In the film, How to Train Your Dragon, the dragons are the Vikings’ enemies, until the main character “Hiccup” discovers they’re actually friendly. If you don’t threaten them or attack them, they’re very friendly! He becomes friends with a dragon, because he is kind and friendly towards the dragon.

In real life, the interesting thing about training dogs, is that they respond much better to love and affection (and treats!) than anything else.

The way we treat other people is a lot like this; people respond much better to love and affection. In 1 and 2 Timothy, St Paul is writing to his young helper, Timothy, who is learning about the faith from St Paul. Timothy is sent off to visit other churches and people on behalf of St Paul, so his behaviour is very important to St Paul. Timothy is representing St Paul to the churches. St Paul, in turn, is effectively preparing his successor to assume a leadership role in the early Church.

In his first letter to Timothy, St Paul writes, “Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all bad things. Instead seek righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6: 11).

It’s very interesting that St Paul tells Timothy to use some of the qualities we now list as character strengths, such as love, endurance, and gentleness (which is another way of saying kindness). St Paul knew about these qualities 2000 years ago! They will serve us well in the way we treat other people.

If we are “godly”, then we treat other people with the same love and kindness that God shows us. This is how we change the world: through love and kindness!

The Reverend Dr Theo McCall
School Chaplain