Pilgrimpace's Blog


reflecting the tough stuff

Yesterday at St Bede’s, we spent the sermon reflecting together on how we respond to horrors like the terrorist attacks in Paris.

It has been quite a week – as well as the attacks in Nigeria and Mali and Cameroon (and I am sure others which go unreported in western media) we have had significant anniversaries here:  The Coventry Blitz, a big air raid on Birmingham the same week that killed more people, the Birmingham Pub Bombings 40 years ago.

People brought bits of reflection with them.  Margaret brought a wooden fruit bowl that her cousin had made.  It was the only thing to survive when her mother’s house in the Jewellery Quarter was bombed (fortunately, the family were in a shelter).

I brought a postcard of the Ravenna Mosaics which a Jewish family had bought on holiday from Vienna in 1924.  They were refugees here in 1937, are connected with St Bede’s, and gave me the card.

Mosaics_of_S_Vitale_Ravenna_Apse_02.JPG

photo from wikipedia commons

We reflect on how things change or don’t change, how we can welcome those in great need, what we can do.  We remembered that St Bede’s was seen as a safe place for Irish people after the IRA bombings.

We reflected on a question Barbara asked a while ago – Why did God harden Pharoah’s heart in the Book of Exodus before the people of Israel were allowed to flee Egypt?  We couldn’t come up with a good answer to this, but it made us think about out own hearts, about trying, with God’s grace, to ensure that they do not become hardened.

We remembered Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies.  This is all tough stuff; easier to say than to do.

Ann told about eating her lunch next to an old dry stone wall while she waited for her friend’s funeral to start.  It spoke to her of permanence, of each of the stones being different, of the short beauty if human life.

As we thought about our city not being torn apart, about not seeking revenge, we reflected on God’s Kingdom, it being the Festival of Christ the King.  That this points to a new reality, a place where things are turned upside down, where love is in charge.

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