Watching some of the riots and violent disturbances on the streets of towns and cities in Northern Ireland this week, has been deeply disturbing. They have brought back memories from the Troubles, when there was much sectarian violent conflict between catholic and protestant factions- knee capping, intimidation, shooting and car bombs.
Commentators and journalists have talked of different causes for this recurrence of violence recently- poverty, provocative words from political leaders on all sides, and the provisions of the Brexit agreement. These are all in danger of reopening old wounds.
My late husband served in Northern Ireland as part of his military career, and his experiences and memories have always reminded me of the price that is paid by all involved in violence- the traumatic memories and the risk of PTSD, as well as the physical injuries. The cost of conflict is so very high and long term, for all involved, and for their families.
The Christian community at Corrymeela, along with many others, have called for people to stand against violence, to show civic courage, and to work towards tolerance, dialogue and reconciliation.
The Corrymeela comment and prayer can be found here. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10158341299392547&id=76350897546
May we all do our best to work for justice and peace, so that the violence will diminish, and for peaceful but effective ways to be found to support vulnerable and anxious communities. May we pray without ceasing, for peace. Lord, have mercy.
‘ God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.’ 2 Corinthians 5:19
Gracious God, You long for all people to be reconciled with You in Christ, and also with one another. Forgive us for all the times that we fight and squabble. We pray especially for Northern Ireland, for the violence to stop, and for there to be a will to find a peaceful way forward. Lord Jesus, we know that for many, old memories and hurts are resurfacing, and old wounds being torn open. Forgive us. We give thanks for Corrymeela, and for all who work for peace. Holy spirit, bring lasting healing to all. In Jesus’ name, Amen.