The morning after the Manchester terrorist attack, I was walking home from St Faith’s Church, in Landport.
A passer-by greeted me and started talking about his shock and anger at what had happened.
We reflected on how it was the actions of an individual or a small group of people and how wonderful the response of the whole community had been in offering support.
We also talked about the frustration that there were many things happening in our world which we can often feel powerless to stop or change.
We both agreed that what was important was not to feel helpless and do nothing – instead we should change the things we can change, which are our own lives and attitudes.
I was thinking about this conversation later in the day when I went into St Mary’s Church in Fratton Road, where a small group have been preparing a ‘sacred space’.
This is part of our response to a call from the archbishops for Christians to pray for 10 days on the theme of Thy Kingdom Come.
This began on Ascension Day, yesterday, and will end on Sunday, June 4, when we celebrate Pentecost – the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early Church.
Across the city, the country and even the world, churches and groups of Christians are committing themselves to pray and think about the Kingdom of God.
As I looked at the space and the ideas for prayers that were being created, I remembered that conversation and realised that the two are linked.
As we are called to pray for God’s kingdom of peace and justice, we are also called to think of our own lives.
How we can reflect the values of that kingdom and be signs of it in our own lives?
How do we take responsibility for what we can change and be?
Over the coming nine days, perhaps that is something we can all reflect on, whatever our faith or culture: how can I build a better community? How can I be a sign of love and respect of others?
If you need a space to be still and reflect or pray, then try your local church and see what they are doing in response to Thy Kingdom Come.
St Mary’s will be open every day from 9am until midday.
n ST MARY’S CHURCH is in Fratton Road, Fratton.
To contact the parish office call (023) 9281 4444 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.Alternatively, visit portseaparish.co.uk.