To begin though, I want to write something about Tuesday, when I, along with may others, gathered at the gates of the ExCeL centre in London where preparations are going ahead for one of the world's biggest arms fairs. Part of a sustained week of creative action to impede the setup of the event, Tuesday was entitled "No Faith in War" and was an invitation to people of faith to stand against the evils of the arms trade. Gathering from about 9am, we maintained a presence of both prayer and protest at the gates all day, with people coming and going throughout.
This was not a passive vigil of witness but a creative, active response to one of the great evils of our time; but the atmosphere throughout remained one of respectful peace as well as of passion deeply rooted in gospel values. I remained conscious through the day of the stark contrast between this and the preparations behind closed doors for an event which will contribute to the continuing escalation of instability and conflict; the human cost of which is increasingly evident.
For me, the theme of the beatitudes reverberated through the day. We heard them several times with different groups independently choosing its inclusion in their liturgies.
The sense of joy and community which pervaded the day, even in the seemingly impenetrable face of death and destruction allowed me, us, to experience the truth of His blessing, that the peacemakers and those who hunger and thirst for justice will know happiness.
I came away uplifted and inspired. This for me, is where and how the church should be. Thank you, to all who were church with and for me that day.