I always try to strike a positive note in my blog but I also try to be real. This is a tough time for a great many people as parents and a community grieve little April, still missing in Wales, Syria and Turkey are skirmishing with the loss of life, our soldiers are still sacrificing their lives for others in Afghanistan, victims of abuse are trying to deal with the aftermath, and families and colleagues mourn the two policewomen killed in Manchester. So much public attention, little room for private grief.
We live in a very tough world, life is hard for so many and we look on feeling helpless in the face of so much tragedy and disaster. Our hearts go out to those whose lives have been turned upside down by life shattering events. What can we do? How can we help?
People volunteered to search for the missing child, police and public stood together to mourn fallen young women. Streets where tragedies have struck have been filled with flowers, candles and other tributes. Despite the deep divisions in society this has been a year when there has been a new mood of national collaboration, as we saw during the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Although it is easy to look around the world and think that there is little good to be found I still believe in the power of good over evil. There is a famous saying which says “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. (Edmund Burke)
Fear can paralyse us, prevent us from stepping forward or stepping out but, if we are prepared to, we can play a part in standing up for others. This may not be without risk but turning a blind eye to the plight of others only allows evil to flourish. I’m not advocating that we all go out on the streets as vigilantes but there are small subtle ways in which we can be a force for good. Those who bully, intimidate or abuse others need to be challenged.
Change is possible one small step at a time, if we are willing to get involved, willing to be there for those who are on the margins, those who have no voice of their own, the young the old, the disabled, the unloved and the unlovely. Those of us who have faith and hope can reach out to those who don’t. That is what I am commanded to do as a Christian. There is a lovely hymn which has these verses.
Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.
We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through
I want to be the person who can be there for others in the night time of their fear. I want to be able to be with those who mourn and rejoice with those who are celebrating. I want to be there on the road, face down in the mud if necessary, with those who have fallen, offering them a hand up when they need it. I may get hurt, it may be messy and I might get my heart broken but this is real life and real living.
I know the power of grace and mercy. I’ve been shown so much and I want to pass that on to those who need to know it too. So I will try to do my bit, will you?