Love and hope from the ashes of tragedy

Outpouring of love at Borough Market             Picture PA
Outpouring of love at Borough Market Picture PA
Jack Edwards, 10, John McLaverty, Jon Margon, Elizabeth Rands, Alan Crosby, Lynda Saunders, Lea Dawkins, 13. Picture Credit: Keith Woodland PPP-171208-172212006

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SOME words of the Dalai Lama have resonated over the past few weeks.

He talked a while ago about there being no such thing as a Muslim terrorist, a Buddhist terrorist or a Christian terrorist.

Anyone who wanted to indulge in violence is no longer a genuine Muslim, a genuine Buddhist or a genuine Christian.

Wise words which are important following attacks on concertgoers in Manchester, people in Borough Market and on London Bridge, and on worshippers leaving Finsbury Park Mosque.

These recent attacks are on a wide range of different communities, irrespective of nationality or faith.

It is important that we distinguish between fundamentalism and genuine followers of a faith.

The Dalai Lama went on to say: ‘All major religious traditions carry the same message – a message of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, self-discipline – all religious traditions.’

This is a message which is totally incompatible with acts of terrorism which are happening around the world and to all people, not just in the UK.

It is interesting to see the strength of that message of love and compassion demonstrated in emergency services putting their lives at risk to save others; in strangers opening their homes to others in the aftermath of such atrocities, and in so many people responding to other disasters such as the Grenfell Tower fire with food, clothing and money for those who have lost everything.

Last weekend’s events commemorating the murder of MP Jo Cox are another example of the resolve of people not to allow this kind of hate to destroy us or drive us apart.

Social media has of course been alive with the same messages of hope and love and I was struck by one hashtag which was used extensively – #lovewins.

It seems to sum up that resolve which I have been trying to describe.

For me as a Christian, this resolve is ultimately summed up in the fact that we worship Jesus Christ crucified – a God who knows what it is to suffer among us and with us.

A God who weeps with us and dies with us, but through his resurrection to new life and hope has defeated evil and hate.

So I guess for me perhaps the hashtag should be #lovehaswon.

It is that victory of love which we see in people amid these disasters and I thank God for it.

n PORTSMOUTH CATHEDRAL is in High Street, Old Portsmouth, PO1 2HH

For more information go to Portsmouthcathedral.org.uk.