I was struck by this image of The Queen shaking hands with Martin McGuinness shown in his BBC Obituary. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-39185899
I am old enough to remember the bombings and to have walked through Belfast when things were different from today. I grew up around Manchester whose city centre was remodelled by the IRA. I had a British Bobsleigh Badge from the Olympics on my anorak sleeve walking through the centre of Belfast. I remember looking at it and suddenly it felt like a target! I have stood atop the steps of a B and B in Dublin with two men evaluating me as they stood at the base of the stairs as the lady of the house explained who I was.
And what about if your wife had been killed in a bomb authorised by the person who stands before you. As may have happened, I imagine for Lord Tebbit? I lived down the street from the hotel bombed at the Tory Party Conference by the IRA in Brighton for years.
And – for the record I’ve had some great times in Ireland and met great people there. I’ve also watched a Politician there be happy and kind to the children when the cameras were present for a photo shoot and cold as ice once they left. A sense of character gleaned in those moments or just distracted? I have always wondered.
And what about Jesus when those Pharises said “Who are you to forgive? Only God can forgive?” So they decided to kill him. Oh yes and Jesus added the bit to enable the guy to get up and walk again.
To forgive… to be free from being held by the past hurts, betrayals, deeds and words of another.
And our Queen, with her faith as the rock she draws on, in this picture seems to me to have forgiven the man standing in front of her. And I imagine she would have known much that went on in the troubled times of her lifetime. It looks like she, and all around her, are delighted that a man has changed.
Bottom line reflection for me – love wins over hate, light over dark.
Now – who do I need to forgive today? And how hard that can be for some I cannot imagine…
Luke 5:17-39New Life Version (NLV)
Jesus Heals a Man Let Down through the Roof of a House
17 On one of the days while Jesus was teaching, some proud religious law-keepers and teachers of the Law were sitting by Him. They had come from every town in the countries of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was there to heal them. 18 Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. 19 But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 The teachers of the Law and the proud religious law-keepers thought to themselves, “Who is this Man Who speaks as if He is God? Who can forgive sins but God only?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said to them, “Why do you think this way in your hearts? 23 Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’?
24 “So that you may know the Son of Man has the right and the power on earth to forgive sins,” He said to the man who could not move his body, “I say to you, get up. Take your bed and go to your home.” 25 At once the sick man got up in front of them. He took his bed and went to his home thanking God. 26 All those who were there were surprised and gave thanks to God, saying, “We have seen very special things today.”