I’ve just returned from a summer break, which I’ve enjoyed greatly. But I’m aware that the last 2 weeks haven’t been quite such a happy time for everyone. We’ve all seen the outbreaks of rioting & looting on the streets of our major cities … Birmingham included. Well, calm has returned, & as we pick up the pieces politicians & newspapers are looking at what caused all this.
Those on the right are talking about the breakdown of families, a lack of individual moral responsibility, a lack of respect for authority, the need for punishment. Meanwhile, those on the left are stressing society’s failures: long-term unemployment in the midst of material greed, disinterest in poor communities, moral failure amongst wealthier people - undeserved merchant bank bonuses, tax avoidance, illegal phone hacking.
Both viewpoints reflect something of the truth. The riots were inexcusable; but there are underlying problems that society must now address.
Christian faith offers no clear cut answers. It talks of God’s call for justice, and of God’s wish for mercy. It places responsibilities on individuals, & on whole societies. Above all, it reminds us that we all (individuals & society) fall short of being fully human in the way God wants for us.
So, at Holy Trinity we are praying for everyone who has been caught up in these recent events: for those who have lost property, livelihoods or even life itself; for the police & magistrates; for the rioters themselves; for our whole society & those who lead & guide it.
Above all, we pray that we will seek a better future for all – walking more closely with the God who is love.