Go back to normal view
Last month I wrote about our new prayer cycle and the importance of remembering, as we pray, that God knows all our needs, and loves us all with no exclusions and no partiality. It turns out that this is a particularly important time to be remembering those truths.
In the aftermath of the EU Referendum with the uncertainty that this has created, and the current instability in our political leadership, it is more than ever important to know that, no matter what is going on around us, we are all held in the hands of a God who loves us, and who will be with us whatever life throws at us. It is also important to remember that all human beings carry within them some part of the image of God, that he longs for all to flourish and to reach their potential and that we are all loved as children of God.
The police and others have expressed considerable concern at the rise of hate crime incidents in the period since the Referendum, apparently because a small number of people believe that the result gives them licence to behave aggressively towards those they consider unworthy of a welcome in this country. I would echo the view of the Metropolitan Police that any act of hate crime is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. I would also urge anyone who is a victim of such crime, and anyone who witnesses such a crime, to report it to the Police as soon as possible, by dialling 999 if there is immediate danger, or 101 if the situation is less urgent.
One of the reasons that I myself came to Goodmayes was that the community is hugely diverse, and I rejoice in this diversity. It helps me to understand that there is much that I don’t know, and that people of different backgrounds, racial and ethnic heritages, personal experience and beliefs can show me something of what God is like. Being surrounded by diversity deepens my appreciation of the mystery and creativity of God.
The Bishop of Barking has urged us, at this challenging time, to be the good listeners and good neighbours that Jesus calls us to be, to continue to be hospitable and welcoming and to “build bridges rather than barriers”. He has reminded us of the prayer of St Patrick’s Breastplate, which I also commend to you:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
With every blessing,