It is our practice for a different member of our community to light our chalice at the start of Sunday worship. It is an opportunity to highlight important concerns and issues. Susanne Urquhart lit the chalice on 28 May. She was assisted by her children, Sam and Martha. In remembering the victims of the attack in Manchester on the previous Monday, 22 May, Susanne’s theme was peace and hope.
I light the Peace Candle today for the victims of the attack in Manchester on Monday.
My deepest sympathies and thoughts are with those who lost their lives; with those who were injured; with their families and friends; with everyone who was and is affected by this random act of violence.
I also light the candle for hope and for peace. Not the kind of peace that is merely defined by the absence of conflict. Conflicts and differences are a part of life. But the kind of peace that is a constant process of solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education; and through humane ways.
We speak about conflict and peaceful conflict resolution with Sam and Martha to enable them to develop ways to deal with the tricky situations they may be confronted with at school or nursery. In one of these discussions Sam and Martha concluded that ‘being kind is peace’.
I would like to share two quotes, which give me a sense of hope and guidance in the face of such an incomprehensible and tragic event as has happened in Manchester.
‘No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’ Nelson Mandela
‘I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’ Anne Frank