Thursday, 21 April 2011

Letter bombs and violence

Having spent yesterday doing media interviews around the bombs sent to Neil Lennon, Paul McBride and Trisha Godman I have been reflecting on the profile of violence in our society. Knife crime is being prioritised by the Labour party in the Holyrood election. Domestic abuse figures are way up, and of course news media ensure that we have the details of every crime of violence day after day.

In Holy Week, Christians are reflecting on the suffering of Jesus - Put to death on a cross. And reflecting too on following Jesus in the role of peacemakers.
Locally in Gorbals, where I am Parish Minister, one of the things we do – and have done again over the past two weeks, is take 90 young people aged 15/16 from the local schools, Catholic and non-denominational, to Northern Ireland. They see Belfast, meet young people there and spend time at Corrymeela in North Antrim, a place that has been a centre for refuge, respite and challenge for people there for decades and right through the troubles.
The aim, of course, is to give these young people the experience of belonging to one another and to enable them to have a first hand view of the reality that people are trying to overcome. It’s work we have won awards for, but the greatest reward is seeing young people realise their potential to change the future and shake off ancient prejudice.
Bombs in Scotland? Unthinkable. The death throes of sectarianism are painful to be part of. It is time they were over.

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