On a day when we are considering yesterday’s events in London, when a man ploughed his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, before crashing into the barrier at Parliament, knifing and killing an unarmed police officer and then attacking other officers. He was shot and killed himself. A terrorist attack on what is being called “the heart of our democracy”.
And we react in different ways… I loved this:
People are donating to charities supporting refugees and saying “This is because I know that refugees are not terrorists”.
On the FB page of Phone Credits for Refugees & Displaced Persons there’s a post:
Deeply says condolence to the victims of terrorism in United Kingdom. It’s a coward actions their are targeting civilians”…As I pick my way through the multiple messages of outrage, condolences and love from Muslim immigrants this morning it’s obvious that those trying to divide us are not very competent at doing so…When you commit the kinds of acts that are universally offensive to all reasonable people regardless of their culture or religion, the only logical outcome is unity. Such events only serve to strengthen our feelings of solidarity for all those caught up in violence and danger where ever they are in the world…More than this, we’re each reminded to make our time count. Not only must we must be motivated and engaged in actively making good things happen, we must be more fanatical and active about organising those good things than those who organise hatred. Our apathy must be less than the apathy of people who are prepared to kill for their beliefs. Our acts of love must be even more outrageous and grab even greater attention than theirs.(My bold colour)
Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox (the MP who was killed in another terrorist attack) who has always been so dignified and measured in his responses to her death has both tweeted “I don’t care about the name of the attacker. This is the name I will remember.” in response to the press release that Police had released a picture of Pc Keith Palmer, the 48-year-old husband and father killed in the attack. Mr Cox also re-tweeted Mishal Husain’s tweet which read “The Westminster attacker is no more representative of Muslims than Jo Cox’s killer is representative of Yorkshire”
Others, of course, have reacted with anger, with insults, with hate, already calling the killer “scum”, “Islamist terror attacker”, and other things too hate-filled to post.
And the 40 Acts team reacted too, with speed and sensitivity. I am grateful for their swift response and inspiring message. It is up to us to provide love, generosity and goodness in our part of the world.
Today, the prompt reads, is not beginning as any of us planned or hoped as we hit the midway point of Lent and 40acts. Yesterday, innocent lives were lost during a senseless attack in the heart of our capital. In these moments of terror and uncertainty we must never forget that we can control one important thing, how we react. Today we’re calling on you, the 40acts community, to double down on generosity and love for others.
No options, just radical, generous love today… Wherever you are today, the most generous thing we can do is share the hope that is within us with those around us. How can you extend hope on a day like today to your colleagues, neighbours and friends? A smile at the stranger on the bus, holding open doors, putting others first. Treating stressed out colleagues to lunch, a message of support to the emergency services or your local MP. Gathering together to pray for our communities.
Love and compassion today will take many forms.
Let us not grow weary of doing good.
The meditation, which you can find over here, is truly worth reading, for its beauty, sensitivity, rightness in the face of what has happened. I wept as I read it. Plaudits to Mike, the CEO of Stewardship who had to write this. He found just the right words.
I’m at home today – it’s raining, cold and I have been to the dentist to repair my broken tooth, so I don’t feel like doing anything very much – but I will be carrying this message through further on ionto the weeks ahead.
Generosity, love, forgiveness – this must be our reaction to everyone. In the world. Around us. To a fault.
Don’t save our soul.
Pour it out like rain
on cracked, parched earth.