On this day, November 8th 1987, a huge car bomb exploded in Enniskillin, County Fermanagh, as the towns people assembled quietly for their annual Remembrance Day Service held on the 8th, not the 11th, because the 8th was the nearest Sunday to the original date of the cessation of war in 1918. That day eleven people were killed and over sixty were injured, some of them critically. The I.R.A. announced later “We are responsible”. Ponder those words, and weep: “We are responsible”.
Now what most people have come to remember about that particular atrocity was the attitude of sixty year old Gordon Wilson, who, with his daughter Marie, was buried beneath the debris of the wrecked building which had avalanched on to the unsuspecting worshippers. Before Gordon was rescued he had done his best to comfort his dying daughter who was trapped beside him and fatally wounded. What astonished the world was his humble Christian comment: “I shall pray for those people who planted the bomb tonight and every night”.
That was the comment which flashed through the world’s news networks. It was news indeed, not only of the atrocity but the Christian comment of a wounded and grieving father who, apart from his faith might have delivered a tirade of bitterness and invective against those who murdered his beloved daughter. That comment stood out like the sun rising over what had been a black and awful darkness. Yes, I know, that to the world’s media only bad news is real news. Good news is regarded as boring, and it doesn’t sell papers. But when it comes to dealing with the appalling atrocities of our human inhumanity: when it comes to trying to make sense of shattered dreams and broken relationships:when it comes to being truly responsible, and not controlled by knee-jerk reactions to horror and evil and brutality, both world-wide and in your street, the only timeless comments, the only truly earth-shaking words which exist are the words of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the Messiah, the only one who can save us from ourselves. This is from the Sermon on the Mount in:
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement’ , but I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement. Again anyone who says to his brother ‘Raca’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin, but anyone who says ‘You fool’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matthew 5: 21-22
A Prayer: Deliver me this day, O Lord, from the hatred which can curse anyone for any reason, lest the poison I spread, spreads and poisons me also.
Now read Matthew 18: 21-35