Embracing the other is important for our political and social well-being as well as for our spiritual health. Yet too often the other is excluded, dehumanized and demonized. This attitude lies behind so much of the fearfulness encountered in contemporary society, whether it is fear of other ideas, other cultures and faiths and even fear of what lies deep within ourselves.
- As I was thinking about today's service, words from TS Eliot, the nation's favourite poet, came into mind: In the end is my beginning. Today is charged with mixed emotions. For many it will be relief, that the period of waiting and uncertainty is over.
- A few weeks ago was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King delivering his speech ‘I have a dream.’ The speech, delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, was a defining moment in the history of the American Civil Rights Movement.
- Reconciliation is not possible unless there is an embracing of the ‘other’ - the other person, the other idea, the otherness of ourselves, the otherness of God. The other is the one outside of ourselves. The fact that human beings can stretch beyond themselves in this way differentiates them from animals.
- The Church is a community which is both forgiven and in the process of being forgiven and it is called to reflect this reality to the world. In a society which permits everything but forgives nothing, the Church has a particularly daunting task to combat the fear which comes from not recognising one’s forgiven-ness.
- To hear Maureen Greaves speak of forgiving the two men who murdered her husband Alan must be one of the most moving events of the last few months. Alan Greaves, a church organist in Sheffield, was brutally beaten on his way to play for Midnight Mass. He died in hospital three days later.
- Is forgiveness dependent upon our being sorry and showing remorse? When we do say sorry, is it primarily for the sake of the person we have wronged or is it for our sake?
- Psychology for Pastoral Contexts written by Jessica Rose and published by SCM is a book worth reading for those interested in the light thrown on pastoral care by psychology.
- As I write, there is a heated debate around the burial of Tamerlan Tsamaev, one of the men suspected of planting the bombs at the Boston Marathon in April. Some do not want him buried on American soil, others want him taken back to Russia.
- The father in one of the most famous stories in the New Testament and the father in Northern Ireland whose daughter died, buried beneath rubble and holding her father’s hand, are challenging and harrowing examples of forgiveness leading to reconciliation.