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Viewpoint from Rev Albert Cadmore 12/01/2018 

ALBERT CADMORERev Albert Cadmore
chaplain of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston RNLI

as publsihed in the Yarmouth Mercury

 

As we look forward to the New Year, it is inevitable that we do so, holding in mind concerns for the present and memories of the recent past. And as we look back over 2017 we can recall that the menacing threat of acts of terrorism from ISIS related groups, was never far from our minds, not least when we remember the Westminster Bridge, Borough Market, and Manchester Arena atrocities. Also, the ongoing human tragedy of the Syrian people continues to be so vividly brought home to us via our TV screens. Tragedies that are not terror or violence related, and closer to home, such as the Grenfell Tower fire, leave us feeling sad and helpless, as do tragedies involving families or individuals that we so often hear about and read about involving people from nearby and faraway
 
dove leftI was recently reading a report by a man who is part of a national chaplaincy team that responds to disasters, who was in Manchester a day or so after the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. A minute’s silence was held as a huge crowd gathered, and the chaplain began speaking with a young man who had been sitting there for some time, deep in his thoughts. The young man said to the chaplain, “I used to have faith as a child, but I lost it. Too many bad things happened to me. I remember 9/11: I was only seven at the time. I started asking: how could a God who is in control allow this? How could he allow this to happen to Manchester? Just look at those kids – they were so innocent”
 
The chaplain replied, “What about Jesus? What if God came and suffered with us, with those kids in the bomb attack? Wouldn’t He be a God worth believing in?”
 
As I read that account, it set me thinking about how refugees and homeless people have been on our minds and in the news during the Christmas season, and how this has led me to reflect on the fact that at the first Christmas, Mary and Joseph were in that same situation; homeless refugees seeking shelter, who went on to flee to Egypt because of the danger of persecution by Herod
 
Dove rightMany of us will inevitably face difficult challenges as we journey forward into 2018, and I often recall the famous words of King George VI, in his Christmas Day address to the Empire in 1939, as the world faced up to the dark days of war. The King, along with so many others was heartened and sustained by faith as he quoted from a poem to say, “I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown”. And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way”’
 
An answer to that young man in Manchester’s question, and a message of hope for refugees, and all facing dark times, difficulties and challenges, could be that God is in there with them; with us
 
Maybe, we need to hold firm to our faith, and as we reflect on the King’s words from Christmas 1939, perhaps we should also remember that verse of great hope, from John’s Gospel, that is often read at Christmas carol services, which speaks of Jesus as, ‘The light (that) shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’
 
The Queen once said “There's an old saying that "it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness"”, and she added “There are millions of people lighting candles of hope in our world today”

In the name of The Prince of Peace, and the Light of the World, such thoughts and such candles of hope can provide us all with an image of peace, compassion, justice, and hope for our troubled world in 2018

 

The views carried here are those of the author, not necessarily of Network Yarmouth, and are intended to stimulate constructive and good-natured debate between website users

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