As you might expect, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland remembered in prayer this morning those touched by the violence in Woolwich yesterday. An apparent act of terrorism on a serving officer on the streets of South East London.
Today we also heard the report of our Armed Forces Chaplains and the assembly hall was populated by men and women in uniform.
There is no doubt that a call to serve in chaplaincy to our armed forces exposes those who respond to be a part of the most harrowing stories that, quite frankly, most of us would rather not imagine.
But imagine those stories we must if we are to have any hope of changing the stories and of writing the next chapter that is not filled with such violence.
Daily we are all touched by violence. The shocking violence that makes the news headlines. The violence that has long since faded out of the news, replaced by fresh atrocity. Or the violence that didn't ever register on our limited radar. We live in a world filled with violence and we are ALL touched by it. How do we prevent ourselves from becoming inured to it yet survive the constant attacks that assault us daily? How do we remain open to be compassionate and empathetic while, at the same time, not become overwhelmed by all that we see and hear and encounter?
And how do we begin to be part of a completely different story - a story in which people are not driven to ask:"Where is God in this?" because the love of God is very evident?
We are all called to that ministry of writing the next chapter, changing the end of the story and achieving vastly different outcomes.
Perhaps it begins with us listening closely to the voice of God calling us all to distinguished service wherever we are, the service of countering violence with the more powerful love of God.
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