In a sense, I’m at a loss for words.
It breaks me to write my first ‘noticing’ of self-denial regarding the people killed in Northern Ireland in the last three days. It seems that the off-duty army personnel threw themselves in front of bullets to protect the pizza delivery men, hours before they were due to leave for service in Afghanistan. And the police officer shot last night was among a number responding to a call for help from a vulnerable woman.
I’m writing today because in a sense I don’t know what else to do…
Following the weekend’s events it is clear that money, politics and being nice do not ‘solve’ our problems – this province needs desperately to be reconciled to itself. I find it hard to work out what my role is in that, other than to note that a deep-rooted sectarianism continues to be embedded in our middle class Methodist culture. If we can identify the existence of sectarianism there is a chance that we might be able to deal with it and work together towards full reconciliation.
Ultimately, though, we need to cry out to God for healing for those who have been bereaved and hurt; for a breaking of hardened hearts of those who believe that murder will achieve anything – that they would turn themselves in to the Police and receive the just penalty for their crimes; for the Church to stand united against evil and together in Christ; for the Spirit to move in power, bringing revival to this island.
For those of us who feel powerless, prayer is access to the all-mighty One who can bring healing to hearts and nations. May God direct our steps when we rise from our knees.