We live in highly disturbing, frightening times. A world in which so many lines are becoming increasingly, progressively blurred: between democracy and dictatorship, truth and falsehood, discourse and slander. A world in which notions of greatness, all sorts of fundamentalism and deep, unacknowledged fears increasingly go hand-in-hand in ruling so many actions and choices, and in which, yet again, terrorism arrives in a nondescript, impossible to monitor white van.
We are now in the final, uncertain days before our General Election, and late last night came the dismaying, heart-wrenching news of another fatal attack in London. Once again we see the worst of humanity - both those killing and causing terror, and those using this to spread even more hatred and division - and the best, in the bravery of emergency services and passers-by, and those locals who opened their homes to those fleeing the scene. And in the midst of all this, I need to remind myself that in this feast of Pentecost we celebrate a Spirit who came to bring strength to the terrified and to dispel all fear. A Spirit whose graces and strengthening power weren't a one-off historical gift, and are never doled out sparingly; a Spirit of truth, whose gifts include wisdom, which we all so desperately, achingly need.
And a Spirit whose very essence is love, and whose power can also be felt in gentleness. This is the Spirit promised by Jesus, as our Counsellor and our Consolation, our strength and inspiration. And this morning I heard the Spirit's whisper in these vaguely remembered words (by L R Knost): words which call me to pray deeply, to hold on to hope, and to be whatever I can be for the healing of our broken world...
Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break. And all things can be mended,
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go, love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.