“After the confusion of last evening, the nation has awoken this morning to the awful clarification of an horrific event, a suicide bomb attack at Manchester Arena, as young adults and children were exiting the venue after a pop concert. The thoughts and prayers of our faithful should of course be for those families and friends affected by the tragedy of such a needless loss of young life and potential at the hands of a tortured individual clearly motivated by intolerance, hatred and bitter sadness.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Corinthians 12:26) as local churches and congregations respond to the suffering and grief of those affected, and as the nation grieves and offers consolation, let us Christians, wherever we may be, strive together to bear witness to the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and Light of the world (John 8:12), Our Lord Jesus Christ. May we in the sharing of suffering and compassion, testify to the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), demonstrate and share that hope with others, that hearts might yet be comforted and brought to share in the knowledge of that only true love which conquers hate, the love of God.
Sadly this tragedy speaks to a darkness many are frightened to recognise but which is yet consuming our world unabated, despite its horrendous crimes against humanity. Islamism. Our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East and Africa have already borne brave witness and great suffering to this threat which yet would destroy the peace and stability we currently enjoy in the West. Let us not be afraid to call out that false religious fervour that destroys faith in God and in neighbour and by our witness to Jesus Christ, show to all “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) that will bring true peace to all. Oremus pro invicem.“
Given at The Brighton Oratory, May 23, 2017.