Yesterday evening I spent some time at Hils’ church (St Paul’s in Blackley) helping out with a community art project. Not only was it a good way of getting to know people and building relationships, but it also helped us to reflect on events in Manchester just 3 months ago at the MEN Arena. Churches throughout Manchester responded in many different ways to the terror attack. Here at Brunswick we kept our doors open for people to call in and light a candle as a way of showing support for those caught up in the incident. At St Paul’s, passers-by were encouraged to tie a ribbon to the railings of the church as an act of remembrance. These numerous ribbons with their assorted colours and textures have now been incorporated into 3 wall hangings that will initially hang in the entrance of the local library.
Memorials are an important feature of traumatic events or a time of pain or difficulty and no doubt help with the healing progress. I expect that the people of Barcelona, who experienced their own terrorist attack last week, will find ways, either collectively or individually of remembering this episode in their city’s history and honouring those who lost their lives.
On Sunday, our service focused on the Passover, a time described in the Book of Exodus when the people of Israel gathered together during their own time of trauma before their escape from Egypt. Amongst the many instructions that they had to follow that night one of them continues to be followed by people of the Jewish faith to this day. The Passover Meal is re-enacted each and every year as a way of celebrating their freedom from slavery, but also as a reminder of where that freedom came from.
At our service of Holy Communion this Sunday we will be carrying out our own act of remembrance of the freedom that we have as followers of Jesus. As it will be the last Sunday of the month, space will be available for people to pray for healing in the quiet time during Communion. Maybe this week we could use that moment to remember all victims of terror across the world and nearer to home, asking God to make us channels of his peace and love the places where we live or work.
Enjoy the rest of your week,