During this week, we were subjected to the terror of the events in Westminster. Sitting here in the church, I could hear, through the open window, the helicopters overhead and the sirens of the police cars and ambulances tearing through the streets at the same time as I was hearing them on the broadcast news that I was watching.... It was odd.
One of our members was in a building that was locked down; she had to cancel things she was planning to do because she could not get out. One of our deacons was there. Hear his account of it here
And what do we do? We pray, of course; but what does that mean? There have been reflections saying that pray is useless in this situation - indeed, some have said, worse than useless, since it is, they claim, such beliefs that have led to this kind of event in the first place.
Others, most notably Giles Fraser have defended prayer, and defined it very carefully for this context; Prayer helps us shut up and think
And to help us pray, we need to remember that we are praying not for some entity called "London" - but for people.. And we are praying to One who knows what it is to be people - the Fully Human Person of Jesus.
So that is why this has been our prayer
God of Grace and Glory, you choose to meet us in the human being of your Son, our Lord. He was no stranger to violence and attack, and showed how to meet that with love and forgiveness. We pray for human beings in our city, faced with threat and fear; give comfort, hope, and peace of heart and mind. We pray for human beings who have put themselves in the way of danger to protect others; give mercy and comfort. We pray for human beings who mourn; give your presence. We pray for human beings who are afraid; give your peace.
We pray for human beings who choose and commit to a way of violence; give them wisdom and imagination to see what they are they are doing, and the possibility of change.
Give to us all, as human beings, a new understanding of what it is to be a human being, as shown in the Human One, your Son. And grant us the grace and the glory of living together, in delight and acceptance, and in Your peace.
We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church