Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Tensions

I arrived back in Belfast on Monday afternoon to 60 degree weather that felt wonderful after the 110 degree heat index in New Orleans.
I will post another response soon on the YAV trip to Iona and my trip to the Fund for Theological Education conference in New Orleans...

I just wanted to post a quick word that, if you have been following the recent headlines for the UK, Belfast has been making the news.
The flashpoint is about 1/4 of a mile from where I work and about a mile from where I live. (I can hear the helicopters buzzing around as I type this.)
The summary on the site covers it all:

The riot in east Belfast was another reminder that Northern Ireland has a peace process but it does not have peace.

The number of walls between Protestant and Catholic areas has risen in recent years rather than fallen.

Outbreaks of violence are relatively rare these days, but tension in some areas continues to simmer.

One night of rioting normally leads to another in Northern Ireland. The challenge facing the police is to stop an isolated problem escalating.

So, no need to worry about me - I don't live near the flashpoint.
But please pray for the people that do. Pray for the cross community women's group whose poetry presentation tonight had to be postponed; pray for the cross community youth gathering which was canceled.
Trust takes time to build and all too easily crumbles when the uncertainty of violence and mob rioting brings flashbacks to times of fear.
The 'peace walls' remain and are added to in number. 'Peace walls' such as the one that provides the landmark for the current site of the rioting. '

So many factors playing into the current tension that there is no simple answer to 'why now?', just the general response of heavy sighs and shrugs of shoulders.
Pray for the parents, pensioners, and children who can't sleep with helicopters buzzing overhead and petrol bombs bursting nearby.
Pray for the people in the area - both victims and abusers - that all might come to know peace with themselves and with others in the place they live.

In grace and peace.

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