What a dreadful week its been, watching the riots unfold in different parts of the country; I found myself praying for my Godchildren in London, even though there was no evidence of any disturbances in their area, praying for my closest friends in Oldham and Manchester and then suddenly confronted by the news of the disturbances in Nottingham, especially in the Victoria Centre where my daughter Vikki and her friend work. Without wanting to you begin to worry in case the violence spreads down to her part of Nottingham. Thankfully not, but if we`re worried this far away what about those people caught up in the areas where the riots are taking place ?
Its hard, at this stage, to pinpoint the cause etc. of it all. I certainly feel that there is a large element of criminality involved (it seems too organised not to be), a fresh way of anarchy caused by those who simply want to cry against the Government (whichever one is in power), a mob mentality running on adrenalin and a certain amount of anger fuelled by poor living conditions and a disenfranchised youth. However, whatever the cause is there is no need for the mindless violence, burning and looting and it is noticeable how many of these supposed `hard` guys manage to cover their faces so that they can’t be identified.
Facebook has run a few entries from people comparing the looters hiding behind scarves with soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and places and pointing out that the latter are `real` men, and to that I would say “yes, that’s right !”
However we need to look deeper, I feel, than simplistic reasons and I believe that we need to realise that what we are seeing and sadly see in many other countries at different times is a symptom of a fallen world. Now I know that is in itself a simplistic answer but it is a part of Christian theology that is often forgotten. When God made the world he created it perfect but the selfishness of humankind (and I`m not one in favour of the Eve bit the apple as literal) spoilt the world leading to a falling away from all that God intended of us. Hate, selfishness, prejudice, greed and so on are consequences of that falling away from God, and in turn they lead to mob mentality, starving in Africa, sexually transmitted diseases, grief, broken relationships and in short a world which is struggling to maintain any semblance of true civilisation. When the relatively peaceful people of Norway are hit by Christian fundamentalism, the streets of our cities hit by manic mobs and people starving on the horn of Africa one can only conclude that there is something terribly wrong with our world.
So how to put it right ? I truly believe that the answer largely falls within the hands of the Christian Church. We, who profess to love Jesus Christ, ought to be like salt and light within this world (Matt.5). We should be flavouring the world with good things not getting sucked into the worlds standards and we should be the ones bringing the light of the Gospel of Jesus which will push back the forces of darkness. Jesus said in Matthew 28 “Go into all the world………………. make disciples of all nations, and lo I will be with you to the close of the age”
It is only when this world turns truly to God through Jesus Christ that we will see the world that God originally intended. As Revelation points out, there will be “a new Heaven and a new earth”.
However, sadly, many parts of the Bible speak about hell. Lets be certain about this there really is such a place and the tragedy is some will go there, BUT that is not Gods plan. He wants to be reconciled to people and I believe in a God who weeps for every soul that doesn’t join him in Heaven and so it is up to us to share the good news of a loving God, to live in a loving way and to show that there really is good news for people to aspire to.
Please pray for the streets of our cities tonight that there may be a move of the Holy Spirit sweeping through this nation and this world.