During Lent I have been reading a few good things, including the wonderful Plough magazine, which usually has a series of articles, poems, songs, beautiful artwork and book reviews for Plough Publishing. I always find it thought provoking and profound. It has raised the question of the nature of violence and evil, in very different ways, such as a report about Rwanda. Although I often encounter, especially at L'Arche, great beauty and generosity of love, there is in all of us a brokeness which sometimes errupts into a violence of words or actions.
This weekend has left me deeply saddened by a front page article in a regional newspaper. It is about my son's school, or rather, some of the parents of the children at the school. In line with much journalism, it is innacurate and sensational, and yet there are grains of truth. Rumours have circulated, stories passed from one person to another, positions staked out. Trust and relationships break down and the trivial becomes a matter of public arguement and deep hurt.
Violence makes its way into the lives of my children, sometimes through things they are given or exposed to in the playground. Of course, children need to play and be heros, but we also want to teach them a gentle and thoughtful way of living.
From The Plough:
" The question that faces each of us is "Where do I stand when confronted by the power of evil?" We have to confront evil in the small things that happen each day - in the grudges, unforgiveness, self-pity, self-seeking or self gratification that we cling to...We need to take a stand, but ultimately we cannot help ourselves. That is the message of Easter. As J. Heinrich Arnold writes...'Christ died on the cross to break the curse of evil and vanquish it for once and for all. If we do not believe in the power of evil, we cannot comprehend this. Until we realize that the main reason for his coming to earth was to do this on our behalf - to free us from the powers of darkness - we will never fully understand our need for the cross.' "
I hope you'll forgive the sermon - it is Sunday after all! But when horrible stuff comes to the surface, it challenges me, and makes me realise how fragile we are.