Social media and networking is doing much to mobilise rioters but it is doing much to mobilise pray-ers too. Tim Gosling of Derby Church net was quick to start texting for support.
This morning texts and emails came through to assemble at the fountain in Derby to begin praying at 1:30pm. I left a funeral I was observing in time to make it there with my husband and two girls. We stood together and prayed and sang, standing to face the surrounding people with the Lord's prayer as we finished. BBC radio Derby were present to interview us and recorded the Lord's Prayer and Gosling's hopes on the 5 o'clock news show.
This call to pray united people across denominations and was an opportunity for a Christian witness as we were seen praying on our streets. Some passers-by joined in. Whilst it is good to be seen praying, prayer must also be accompanied by practical action; God calling us to be his hands and feet. Praying encouraged some to then prayer-walk Derby's tougher areas. The city centre seemed calm with a couple of police vans standing by and an obvious police presence. We will wait and see...
It would seem that the church can speak into the fear gripping our cities. To many, Christianity is irrelevant as the church keeps its people inside its buildings and speaks a language that ordinary people, unfamiliar with the scriptures, does not understand. When people are able to see street pastors mobilising, ministers and and their congregations involved in practical acts which reach victims of the violence and encourage a sense of conviction for perpetrators but not condemnation because there is none of that in Jesus...when we can speak with a generous vocabulary...quite frankly words like scum just don't help anyone... when we go the extra mile and clean up our streets and feed and nurture and shelter those effected in our cities...something of the hope for which we live for will be manifest and witnessed. God will win people for himself through these terrible times. The church needs to cooperate with his will, praying that he frustrates the plans of those intent on violence, drawing them into a realisation that there must be more than this ... and identity can come from something beyond mob-status and organised hatred. Through the church, God offers the salvation that is desperately desired. Before people believe, they need to belong. In this generation suffering isolationism, fear and uncertainty, the church must welcome, include, feed and nurture - we all long to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, to have purpose, to be in close relationships... to form community... to find something in a constantly shifting world that can anchor us. I pray that the church might become such a place to people finding a fleeting security in a kind of mob identity that will only spit you out eventually and leave you to the dogs as those whom you thought were your community, climb all over you to grab as much security as they can for themselves, to only pick the glass out of it and find that it had got broken in the scramble anyway.
Ordained Anglican. Thinking out loud about church.