(It) 'can only destroy and empty the value and joy out of life.'
As I sit down this evening there is a sinking feeling, a young man has been taken from those he loved, a community has had a member torn from its fabric. I will soon be 40 and for many of those years this tearing of the fabric of community was a daily reality. I do not want that for my children! I do not want it for myself!
Jesus in the sermon on the mount said that peace makers are blessed, are where God wants them to be doing His will. I know that there is only a very small number of people involved in these acts of terrorism but we cannot be complacent. We must work with every ounce of our strength and oppose this violence. To build peace we must reach out across the one community we live in, in Northern Ireland. Yes there is difference and diversity, but we must embrace one another. We need not all be the same but we can respect one another and our differences. The different identity of another does not negate our identity!
I am involved in the Ministry of Healing here in St Peter's Derry/Londonderry. We meet on the 4th Sunday of the month at 4pm. The next service will be on 22nd May. At that service we will pray for peace, and we will continue to pray that we can bring healing to our community. Healing in the fabric of our torn and battered community, and healing in the lives of those who have been broken by the life of our society over the past 40 years!
There are new torn lives after this latest murder! We stand with them. We pray that in the midst of pain they might know that we are there. We have no words but we are there, the church, the body of Christ. We are being Jesus in the midst of their pain.
There are also others who have had old wounds, thought healed, reopened. They too need our care and support.
I am carrying Psalm 23 as a support in the midst of this. We must remember God is there, even in the darkest times and he is sufficient to our needs. He can lead us through.
Psalm 23A psalm of David. 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD