It’s been a week when people have been sentenced to four-year prison terms “as an example” to other rioters, and courts have sat until the early hours to deal with the massive numbers of cases generated by the outbreaks of violence in English cities.
Some politicians have been quick to demand exemplary punishments while others have called for restorative justice with criminals having to apologise face-to-face to the people whose homes and businesses they destroyed.
The tension is now between people who talk rather than former neighbours who acted, many of them illegally and with devastating consequences.
As Christians we try to continue our task of sharing the Good News of Jesus while working to build community with those who have burned it down and those who have had it ripped from under them.
Here is a hymn which reminds us that the cross is more than an emblem looted from a jeweller’s store – it is the enduring sign of God’s defeat of death and hopelessness.
God of our sunrise and light of the morning,
dawn on our worship, renew us today.
Come by your Spirit and fill with your passion,
set us on fire with the Gospel we pray.
We are your people, the Church you have chosen.
We are a gift to the weak and the strong.
We are the shape of your love for all people.
Help us to live that the world may belong.
Jesus your cross is the hope of the hopeless,
guide of the blind and the staff of the lame.
Here, as the nations are grieving and limping,
Give us compassion to live for your name.
Jesus your cross is the world’s consolation,
object of pain yet the strength of the weak.
Here, as we struggle for peace and for meaning
Jesus we ask for your courage to speak.
Jesus your cross is the birthplace of justice,
cloth for the naked, refreshment for thirst.
Here, as we seek ways to live out the Gospel,
May we repent of our need to be first.
Jesus your cross is the mystery that beckons:
drawing us close till we see face to face,
sharing your love with the world in its turmoil,
blessing with your uncontrollable grace.
Recommended tune: Great is Thy Faithfulness
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