Vicar's Letter - July 2017

        Vicar’s letter July 2017 –  Life Together

As I write these words I am waiting for a wedding couple to come for the rehearsal before their big day tomorrow. It is always a great joy to be involved with weddings where we have a chance to celebrate love and commitment. There is the excitement and anticipation of those who step into this new way of life and the tremendous good will that radiates from all those who are attending to support the couple. Love takes centre stage at the marriage service as we rejoice in the power of love that has brought these individuals to make life long vows to each other.

After the events of this last month it is such a blessing to have this antidote to the acts of evil that we have witnessed in our nation. Senseless and random acts of violence have been visited on innocent children enjoying a pop concert in Manchester or friends eating out in London. We call this terrorism but that seems to give these events a title that is more than they deserve. In fact a few angry and deluded young men are drawn into believing that what they are doing will serve a greater purpose. But the sadness and devastation that they bring into the lives of those affected only hardens our resolve to defiantly resist descending to their level. The response of the vast majority has been to show that good is stronger than evil. That in love we can find a way through.

There was the courageous love that saw police officers and medics run towards the areas of danger. In London there were cases when that love was to be the last act of someone trying to help or protect those being attacked.

There was the compassionate love shown by those who cared for the injured, offered them lifts home and food or accommodation for those who were stranded. There was the love that supported hospital staff working above and beyond their usual hours so that everyone got the very best care.

There was the communal love that formed amongst those who stood together to remember in silence all those who had suffered. A love that in the end spilled over into another concert called One Love Manchester. It was a love that saw fans of an opposing country singing our national as all stood shoulder to shoulder united at a football match.

As a nation we have faced these threats before. When I was growing up there was the dark shadows of violence from the Northern Irish troubles that spilled into our everyday existence. Now we have those who call themselves Jihadis who seek to stop us living in peace. We will adapt and adjust our way of life to cope with this threat that now seems to be the new normal. But we must never forget that it is in love that we will find the way to forge a new life together. For love is stronger than hatred. We must decide to choose love.

May the God of love be with us all.                                                        Neil

Vicar's Letter
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