Each month a different member of the Trinity congregation prepares a few words which we hope that you will find interesting and thought-provoking.
During the days leading up to the Jubilee, the BBC played excepts from the Queen’s speeches which she had given over the past years. Of these the, one I found most moving and powerful was her address to the Northern Island Assembly, in which she spoke, in part, using the Irish Language and then, most telling of all, shook hands with Gerry Adams, whilst Prince Charles did the same with Martin McGuinness. These actions were especially significant, when you recall it was the IRA who murdered her cousin Lord Mountbatten, a relative with whom Charles had had a very close relation. They both showed great forgiveness, and a willingness to move on. I am sure neither the Queen nor Charles had forgotten the blowing up of their close relative and friend, but they did not allow hatred for the evil-doers to weld them to the past.
Forgetting may be impossible, but forgiveness is vital for the health of the one who is wronged, and for their wider contacts. For failure to forgive is like a pollutant that will mar the whole of life. But it is not easy and demands grace and a big heart.
Some weeks ago, the Rev. Mark Copley, of Coventry Cathedral, preached at the Sunday Service on Radio 4. During the sermon he told of his grandfather, a RAF pilot during WW II, who was involved in the destruction of Dresden. Only once did he speak to his grandson about the raid, and then it was with tears in his eyes! Some time ago Rev. Copley was invited to preach at the Cathedral in Dresden, and, in the taxi taking him from the airport in Germany, the driver asked Mark why have he had come to Dresden. With some trepidation Mark told his story. The driver pulled over, stopped the car, and said: “That was the night my mother died!” But, he then leaned over and said “but we can shake hands”.
Remembered but forgiven.
My prayer would be that, in spite of the terrible horrors Ukrainians have suffered, just as the people of Dresden did, they may yet, by God’s grace, be able to forgive, even though it will be impossible to forget the loses of loved ones and the pain suffered by the whole nation. Maybe, the kindnesses shown to them by you, may help provide the balm that will help heal the pain of the terrible losses they have suffered.
May God bless them and you.
Rev. John Whittle
Member of Trinity Church