Fireworks, silence and rough sleeping

IMG_1064I just wonder, “where is your peaceful place ?”

I ask the question because I am aware that for many there isn`t a sense of peace in this world.

Tomorrow, we commemorate/remember/give thanks for those who died during the wars but even as I`ve sat here and got my papers and service organised for tomorrow I can hear fireworks going off in the surrounding gardens.

Last night Alison and I attended a Festival of remembrance here in Burton; a fabulous mix of choral singing, Fijian singing, brass band and young people recounting a project in their school entitled “The Burton Boys”. Later tonight we`ll be watching, as we do every year, the Festival of Remembrance from the Albert Hall. However in between I slept out overnight at the Pirelli football stadium to raise awareness of the homeless around us.

What does remembrance mean to those on the streets tonight ? A memory of better times ? A recollection of a family ?

To those setting off the fireworks what does it mean ? A retelling of the story of Guy Fawkes ? Childhood memories of sparklers and minty peas ?

To those standing for two minutes silence tomorrow, what is remembrance? A chance to be seen to do the right thing ? A genuine moment of pausing and reflection ?

It isn`t for me or anyone who is reading this to judge what may or may not be happening in people’s minds or lives but for me it raises the question again “Where is my peace ?” I can`t truly say I felt peace last night as I lay on the cold concrete, shivering or clambering into my box at 1.30 in the morning wondering if sleep would be possible. I can`t say I felt peace during last nights two-minute silence and nor, I suspect, will I feel it tomorrow for my mind is full of concern for those still engaged in difficult areas of this world.

And peace certainly doesn`t come with the louder and bigger bangs and flashes of fireworks as I know that for some it brings back memories of war, of trauma, of PTSD with all its associated flashbacks. For me I worry about the over Americanisation and over commercialisation of the whole fireworks experience at a time when people are struggling and having to use food banks etc.

For me, it boils down to only one place to find a lasting peace and that is through having a relationship with Jesus Christ. He understands our frustration at the fleeting and transient moments that this world gives; he knows how we feel when we have engaged in an activity and it still hasn`t taken away our pain or our struggle; he has been a wanderer and knows how the homeless surely feel.

And because He has experienced all that I know He will always be with me; in that I can have the peace of growing with Him, understanding Him more, taking worries to Him and letting Him lead me through them. As the Psalmist says “I will lead you by still waters……..”

Jesus is my place of peace.

 

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