Last Week

15 Aug

Last week was a very strange one for me. On Saturday night I arrived back with my friend Matt after a week spent in Enfield. On Sunday night I sat in Alderholt watching on TV my home town being ransacked by rioters and looters. In many ways I felt as though I should be there, whilst at the same time realising there would be little or nothing that I could do. As I watched the streets I have walked over the past 29 years I felt a sense of devastation and hopelessness.

Towards the end of the week I started to receive reports from friends of public prayer meetings, organised town clear ups and young people getting involved in putting their community back together. A sense of hope put back into a place, a group of people unwilling to let the labels that many would want to put on them getting down and dirty showing the true colours of so many.

This evening I read this prayer written by Dave Wiles the director of the fabulous Frontier Youth Trust which picked ups these these of despair, of hope and of justice. As we sit wherever we find ourselves as we read this, we remember that the events of last week are not just a London thing or a city thing. Instead we are surrounded by people who need to realise that there is hope amongst the despair that so often can encapsulate us. A hopelessness that might not work itself out through violence but internally is just as destructive.

Father we ask for peace. Not a fluffy emotional feeling . Nor a comfortable compromise . Nor the wellbeing of a few. But your deep peace of SHALOM for all. We are asking for justice, wholeness, wellbeing, fairness, mercy, understanding and compassion.

We pray for the victims of crime or violence and for those who have been hurt and harmed in the current troubles. We also pray against simplistic explanations of behaviour and knee jerk reactions to issues that are deep and require understanding and wisdom.

We pray for those working for peace in so many guises. We remember our brothers and sisters who are involved in youth work, Street Pastoring, and a host of projects around the country – both within churches and on the streets. We also remember those who work for peace in secular settings: for the police, street marshals, medics, youth workers, social workers, politicians, councillors, the fire services and perhaps especially for our media. We pray for businesses and communities – that they will find a new hope and strength as they work together to recover and regain some sense of normality.

We pray for the young people involved in rioting and ask that you will quicken conscience towards peaceful demonstration and dampen aggression, violence and crime. Strengthen community leaders, inspire compassion, ignite understanding and please let justice and mercy walk together in our thinking and actions.

We offer these prayers through your son, our Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Amen.

You may also be interested in my friend Kat Simmonds a youth worker with Oasis Uk in Enfield and various young people being interviewed yesterday on Radio 4. This clip can be found near the beginning of the episode.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bigscreen/radio/episode/b0134yf7/

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