I've found it really hard to know how to respond to this week's rioting in the UK. I don't live or work in any of the areas affected but I have family and friends who do and
it was with sadness that I
tuned into the world's media
pretty much 24/7 as
everyone tried to make sense of it all.
I felt I needed to do something. There were clean-up projects in
and in other areas
local residents took to the streets to put off further rioting, other people were donating clothes, money...it was a fantastic demonstration of communities pulling together to make things right. (Is there really something in Cameron's 'Big Society'?)
Anyway back to what I claim to be - a Christian - it says in the scriptures in Philippians 4:6,
"Do not worry about anything, instead; pray about everything.". So I decided to put my money where my mouth is, as well as donating money to great causes, why not pray about
Earlier today, my
sister-in-law and I headed down to Methodist Central Hall to join
hundreds of others in
Prayer for a Broken Nation. We prayed for those directly affected by the violence, workers at the frontline, the political response of our government, our broken society and our response as Churches looking into the future.
Leaders at the event includes Rev Nims Obunge, (Pastor of Freedom's Ark Church, Tottenham), The Revd Jenny Impey (London Methodist District), The Revd Paul Martin (London Baptist Association), Steve Clifford (Evangelical Alliance), The Revd Martin Turner (Methodist Central Hall), Pastor Nigel Desborough (Street Pastors), Lieut. Colonel Melvin Fincham & Lieut. Colonel Suzanne Fincham (Salvation Army) and Peter Kerridge (Premier Christian Media).
I don't consider myself super-spiritual but I think its so important to remember the value of prayer.
In Matthew chapter 18 verses 19-20,
says: "I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together in my name, I am there amongst them." Prayer on your own in your bedroom can seem lonely, ineffectual and somehow not quite enough. It is, but praying in solidarity with other Christians is more effective for everyone involved.
Praying with so many other like-minded, passionate people made my heart sing. Where there is still life there is still hope. And hope leads to action.
We need to be more engaged in our society
We need to pray for and support our leaders and government
We need to speak up in areas of parenting and family
We need to acknowledge the fallout of allowing discipline to become a dirty word in our schools
We need to support teachers whose main hope is to get through each day unscathed rather than hope to deliver a good standard of education to our children
We need to thank God for a media where freedom of speech allows us to read
between the lines
We need to get fully behind any great initiatives with our time and/or money.
And the scripture that has stayed with me all day is found in Psalm 85:10-12:
"Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss eachother.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest."