london calling (for prayer)

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; 40 and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; 41 and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:38–42 (RSV)

No doubt like many people I have been shocked by the events in the UK over the last few days. I have been unable to understand what the initiating factor is from any of the newscasts on TV so I had a dig around the net. The following from Yahoo took me by surprise [1]

The riots appeared to have little unifying cause — though some involved claimed to oppose sharp government spending cuts, which will slash welfare payments and cut tens of thousands of public sector jobs through 2015.

But many appeared attracted simply by the opportunity for violence. “Come join the fun!” shouted one youth in the east London suburb of Hackney, where shops were attacked and cars torched.

Is this a response to the financial crisis? Initially perhaps, but from their is a difference between peaceful protest and all out rioting. These are not the streets of some media-defined third world country or middle-eastern-oppressed-regime we are seeing here, this is the heart of London and now spread throughout the country. Our so called western values and democracy are failing to prove their worth, no doubt due to the general populace falling away from God and believing more in the holy dollar than the grace of the Holy Spirit. Society has seen an excuse and is exercising it’s “rites” inflicting pain on others. This is not what we are called to by Christ.

St John Chrysostom [2] writes “For this reason Jesus has also added, “But I say to you, do not resist the evil one.” He did not say “do not resist your brother” but “the evil one”! We are authorized to dare to act in the presence of evil through Christ’s influence. In this way he relaxes and secretly removes most of our anger against the aggressor by transferring the censure to another. “What then?” one asks. “Should we not resist the evil one at all?” Indeed we should, but not in this way. Rather, as Jesus has commanded, we resist by surrendering ourselves to suffer wrongfully. In this way you shall prevail over him. For one fire is not quenched by another, but fire by water. ” 

From this distance I can only offer my prayers in the hope that sanity and love will prevail. Although at least one image on the news gave promise, while the army of darkness spread terror by night at the coming of the day there was a new army, gathered together in peace, armed with brooms and cleaning equipment to repair the mess.

Lord have mercy

[1] http://news.yahoo.com/britain-burns-riots-spread-uk-cities-013736610.html

[2] St John Chrysostom – The Gospel of Matthew, Homily


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