As an ordained church minister, I have peddled hope for more than 30 years. No more so than at Easter, when the dark storm of Good Friday gives way to the sunrise of Easter Sunday.
For most of this time I have also been engaged in international development or what is called mission in the church. The central notion is that those who are more fortunate should support those who are less so.
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But as I sit in Covid-19 lockdown and watch Cyclone Harold smash the already fragile, heavily aid dependent Pacific nations of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, I wonder if there is any reason for hope? I know God won't let the Pacific islands down. They pray far more often and fervently than New Zealanders ever will.
What concerns me is whether we will let them down. It's whether we who are more fortunate by virtue of the circumstance of our birth will continue to give support to those who need it most.
During years of fundraising for overseas projects, I have been repeatedly repelled by the oft quoted "truth" that "charity begins at home". It is usually trotted out with the conviction of a preacher as if donations to New Zealand causes are the priority and that is the final word on the matter.
While it may sound like a biblical proverb, it certainly isn't. What is biblical is that the home is where charity must be taught to our children and grandchildren (1 Timothy 5:4).
What is common to all religion is that charity must be shown to the weakest among us. There is, in fact, no dichotomy made between the needy who live close and those who live further away.
So how will New Zealanders respond to the desperate human plight overseas when we feel so vulnerable ourselves?
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Can Kiwis be generous when our KiwiSaver accounts are in freefall and our Government is borrowing eye-watering amounts of cash to keep "God's own" afloat?
It seems to me that the age of international aid is in danger of being crucified. Our biggest international charities have been reduced to calling for donations for soap for refugee camps.
The rapid geopolitical changes that filled the media and concerned us all in the days preceding the lockdown have been lost in a sea of facemasks and hand-washing instructions.
Who cares what the role of China and Russia is in the Pacific? Better they fix it when we have queues at Pak'nSave and job losses across Aotearoa. Australia's muscle-flexing to retain its regional influence has disappeared amid bickering whether hairdressers are an essential service.
What if the storms of Good Friday never end?
It is preposterous to think that New Zealand can raise the drawbridge and go it alone. For years we haven't even been able to pick our fruit without scores of foreigners to help.
How will Kiwis see the world if our connectivity retracts with Air New Zealand and is never resurrected? How can we possibly think "she'll be right mate" if much of the globe were to remain in an extended Covid-19 crisis?
Since 1970, the Official Development Assistance target for developed nations has been 0.7 per cent of national income. Despite committing to this target, New Zealand has never even achieved 0.3 per cent in any one year. It seems that we want to be part of the global community, but not pay the price.
Like many New Zealanders, my grandfather and father both served in times of global conflict. As Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II pointed out recently, this time it is different as all nations must join in a global endeavour to defeat a common aggressor.
We are a global community. We are all connected by our common humanity. This is the fundamental truth we need to teach our children and grandchildren.
None of us are the final recipient of God's or anyone else's charity. God help us if we lose all hope in the future and give up on our fundamental belief that humanity is stronger when united than alone.
New Zealand must add our considerable resources to the global effort to beat this pandemic and the next. Aotearoa has a big role to play in the global recovery. God defend New Zealand.
• Andrew Bell works as a consultant to the For Purpose sector and was, until recently, the executive director of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ.