I am writing it as news is coming through of a bomb attack in Manchester. There are public outpourings of outrage, grief, fear and pain. The World is a much smaller place than it was and, when global troubles land themselves on our doorstep, it feels smaller still. What do the political differences, the radical beliefs, the expressions of ill-will, have do with a group of young people attending a music concert. Absolutely nothing of course.
We could equally ask what those things have to do with the young people who have fled Syria and now live in refugee camps, who live in bomb-damaged basements on the Gaza Strip, whose bellies are distended with malnutrition in West Africa. Again, absolutely nothing of course.
And what can we say? Again and again absolutely nothing! Yet, we can speak into the pain and anger, trauma and tribulation, with the most profound message that heaven and earth can contain. Christ, in all his human brokenness on the cross, stands in the midst of every human tragedy and is broken, broken, broken over and over again. Christ, bearing the scars of his human experience, stands in the midst of the brokenness, risen and alive, and offers his word of peace. What is the use of a word of peace in the midst of such immense pain? What is the use of peace in the face of such human wickedness? The use of announcing peace is not that it will change anything that is happening but that, we believe, it will change what happens next.
Men and women of peace will know that the story does not end here. Men and women of peace will work for good in society, Men and women of peace will seek peace and reconciliation. Men and women of peace will not give up the prayer or the action which cries into the darkness – “Thy Kingdom Come”!
Remember, again, the words of Julian of Norwich and announce, that “all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”.
Did you ever see the film ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’? The hotel manager, Sonny Kapoor, is heard to make a profound statement. “In the end everything will be alright. If it is not yet alright, then it is not yet the end.”.
In the beginning – God. In the end – God. In between – God. So, peace be with you.
The Superintendent Minister of the South Fylde Circuit of the Methodist Church