Ever since I was about six years old I have looked forward to this time of year. Sunshine, exams over, Wimbledon. But ‘summer’ 2016 is one I’d rather forget and we’re only at the beginning of July. The tennis is as good as ever – though the seeds have dropped like flies and there’s been a heck of a lot of rain. But the world appears to have gone barmy.
Today, July 4th, is traditionally the best day of Wimbledon fortnight and it will at least distract me from the goings on outside of SW19. July 4th is also Independence Day for the USA. (Or ‘Treason Day’ as we Redcoats like to call it. Joke.) Much to celebrate? I can’t see an awful lot right now – a country divided by guns, Trump, hate. Much the same as the small island on which I live, (but without the guns) – a country divided by the English Channel and drifting off into the Atlantic, probably without Scotland for company. Billy No Mates, that’s us.
Meanwhile, 165 people have been killed in Baghdad. One. Hundred. And. Sixty. Five. And yet news coverage of this has been snatched by Farage, a man more despicable than the Child Catcher.
Why are so many men lobbing grenades into the midst of humanity and then legging it.
Who is left to clear up the mess?
As a Christian, my hope is in Jesus. (Now because I’m mentioning Jesus, don’t switch off. I’m not going to give the ‘Sunday School answer’, to coin the phrase of a good friend.) I know without a doubt that Jesus would not have carried a gun or a bomb or a grenade. I know without a doubt that he would weep over the death of an Iraqi as much as over an American citizen or a chap who went to Eton.
Why? Because Jesus treated everyone as equal. He told the story of The Good Samaritan and The Prodigal Son. He looked after the disabled. He trusted women in his circle, first appearing to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection, telling her to go out and spread the word. A woman, when they were second class citizens, their testimonies not even accepted in court. That was how he rolled.
He turned the tables.
We must not turn them back.
We need to look after each other. We need to be salt and light. We must trust in love, and banish hate. Easy? Well, no, because we humans like power. We like to dominate other people. Take what isn’t ours and hang onto it. We like to shut our eyes to the world’s problems because they are not our problems. Even when it’s going on in our own back garden, we still ignore it. Until it impacts us directly.
And you know what? I won’t be told to ‘get over it’ if I believe passionately in something. I will keep highlighting the ridiculous gun culture of the richest most influential country in the war. It hangs heavy on my heart. I don’t know why this in particular but it’s something I have to speak out against. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see things clearly. Like when I’ve finished a manuscript, one I’ve been working on for two years, a world only I’ve been inhabiting, I have to ask my writing buddies to read it. They can see the mistakes that I have missed.
I will keep highlighting the fact that men with crazy hair have got form (you know who I’m talking about).
I will keep highlighting the ridiculous separatist way our country is heading.
I will keep highlighting the subjugation of women across the globe. (And as an aside, I am delighted to discover I have two suffragette sisters in my family tree so maybe my militant tendencies were there all along. It’s just I’m braver at speaking out now.)
I will keeping speaking out against our education system which is failing our children and young people.
I will keep on.
I will nag. I will cajole. I will argue. I will reason. I will joke. I will cry. I will get angry. I will get sad. I will do what I have to do, what my heart tells me.
And you know what else? I will pray because that’s what Christians do. But I will pray in the knowledge that prayer is not a replacement for doing stuff. It’s one part of having a faith. The other is doing to others what you would have done to you. It is loving your neighbour. It is not judging. But it is also speaking out when you see wrong. It is offering a better way.
Jesus never gave up. If I could only have a dot of his courage and compassion…
Peace out, everyone.
Meantime, back to SW19.