During the third week of lent the USPG Lent study course’s focus was on ‘Living with Difference’. Inevitably as we go out into the world as disciples, we will encounter people with different attitudes, different beliefs and different ways of expressing themselves. During our discussions we talked about how, in our town, we live in harmony with people of different faiths and cultures. The following day a senseless attack occurred in Westminster. The events following this are what we remember. We remember attending a minute’s silence outside the Islamic Centre on Parkinson Avenue with members from different religious backgrounds joining together in prayer and in unity for those who needlessly lost their lives or suffered injuries and for peace in our community, our nation and our world. It brought home the importance of the message of the lent course—’Living with Difference’.
We remember The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev’d Justin Welby, joining with other faith leaders at a vigil on Friday. He said “In standing here, we represent the three Abrahamic faith communities, all equally committed to a peaceful future.” He added that in the story of death of resurrection of Jesus, we find a God who is with us in sorrow and a God whose love conquers “the despair and destruction that the events of Wednesday speak of.”
This brought to mind words by Archbishop Desmond Tutu which fit in well with the message of Easter and the message which we hopefully take away and remember from the atrocities of Wednesdays attack:
“When we look at our world, in reality there is no hope for it; in human terms, we are rushing to hell. If you doubt it, look around you: at Syria, at Ukraine, at South Sudan and the Central African Republic; look at the number of people who have been killed in Kenya because they couldn’t speak Somali and they were not Muslim.
A God who is prepared to leave 99 sheep to go and look for one is a God who refuses to give up, and God says ‘I am not going to undo what I did. They are human beings, they are moral agents and I gave them the freedom to be able to choose. I am not going to nullify that gift, and the only way we can reverse what is happening is by getting as many as possible to emulate this Son of mine who lived a human life, who was hungry, who was afraid, who knew despair; who knew the whole gamut of being human, and was able to be obedient even unto death’.
God refuses to give up, and we who are enlisted to be fellow-workers with God know that the only reason we continue is that Death did not have the last word; that Good Friday was not the end of the story. The story culminates on Easter Day, so for ever we know that good WILL prevail. ” Amen
To read more about the Scunthorpe religious communities gathering to remember the Westminster attack victims click the link to the Scunthorpe Telegraph