Life & Faith: Love Thy Neighbour

A Sydney siege survivor and the Anglican Dean of Sydney reflect on the ‘golden rule’ this Easter.

A Sydney siege survivor and the Anglican Dean of Sydney reflect on the ‘golden rule’ this Easter – love your neighbour as yourself.

“I honestly was freaking out. I thought I had a terrorist next to me.”

Have you ever made a snap judgment based on how a person looked, or what a person was wearing? Kylie Beach was on a flight recently and the seat next to her was empty – but it wasn’t meant to be. Eventually, the flight attendants found the missing passenger and moved him back to his allocated seat.

“He was sitting a few rows back,” Kylie says, “and he was the stereotype of a Muslim-looking person.”

He was flustered, he was listening to voice recordings on his phone – he was not a terrorist. He just wanted to sit with his friend.

“If he had looked different, if he had been a white woman, I would just have not gone anywhere near terrorism.”

Kylie Beach also happens to be Communications Director of Common Grace, a movement that seeks to connect people of Christian faith to social justice. At the time, she was working on the organisation’s Easter campaign, ‘Love Thy Neighbour’, and she remembered her ‘neighbour’ on that flight. Did her thoughts demonstrate love, or prejudice?

This is exactly what the campaign is about. Common Grace is releasing a series of blogs and videos in the lead up to Easter, looking at what it means to love others and be a good neighbour – especially when your neighbour seems ‘different’, or could be considered your ‘enemy’.

In this episode of Life & Faith, Sydney Siege survivor, Louisa Hope, walks us through what happened that day and how it led her on a path to actively connect with and love her Muslim neighbours. Then, Anglican Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, connects the ‘golden rule’ to the Easter story.

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