Archive for June, 2018

Responding to hate crime

Posted: June 7, 2018 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

On Tuesday night, the Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira Mosque and the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Gurdwara, both in Beeston in Leeds, were subject to arson attacks within minutes of one another. This followed a march by right wing supporters of EDL founder Tommy Robinson through Leeds city centre last Friday.

In the light of these events, we have sent the following message to the mosque and the gudwara. We also hope to have a presence at the vigil in Beeston Cross Flatts Park on Sunday. It is so hard to know what to do in such circumstances, but prayer and presence seem a good place to start.

 

To all who worship at the Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira Mosque and the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Gurdwara,

It was with deep sadness that we read the news of the attacks on your places of worship on Tuesday. The kind of hate and ignorance shown by these actions is against everything we believe, and against everything we pray for our city.

Words will not easily dismiss the fear and confusion you must feel in the wake of these events, but it does nothing to stay silent and we want you to hear messages of love and friendship that we hope will speak louder and truer.

Please know that we are praying for your peace and protection and for the softening of the hearts of those who seek to cause harm and unrest, and would like to be involved in any events or activities where we can stand with you in solidarity.

With love and blessing from members of Revive Baptist Church, North Leeds

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A Heavenly Picnic

Posted: June 6, 2018 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

Last Sunday, revive decamped to Meanwood Park for a picnic and games, including a rather impressive human pyramid. We have talked before about the ways in which our shared meals are a form of communion, but before we ate together, Ed encouraged us that our times of play are also a reminder of God’s promise and a foretaste of all that is to come. It struck me as a really important word for us, and so I wanted to give a little more thought to it here.

I believe the verse Ed referred to was Zechariah 8:5, when God speaks through the prophet Zechariah of the restoration of Jerusalem, saying that “the city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there”. It’s a wonderful image, and just to emphasise the joy of it all, the basic meaning of the Hebrew word translated here as ‘playing’ is ‘laughter’. It sounds like the best summer holiday of my childhood.

And the picture just gets better. The verse before says that “old men and old women will again sit along the streets of Jerusalem, each with a staff in hand because of great age”. This image of streets filled with old people at rest and children at play gives the impression of a city in which everyone shares the same space, in which even the most vulnerable feel safe and happy, and in which efficiency is not the order of the day. It is an image which fills me with a deep yearning to live in that kind of city.

For the people Zechariah was speaking to, this was a promise of the restoration of Jerusalem, but as we inevitably read it in the light of the New Jerusalem imagined as part of the New Heaven and New Earth described in Revelation, we are more likely to see it as a promise of what the kingdom of heaven will be like when it comes in all its fullness. It’s amazing to think that this is what we have to look forward to, but that does not mean that my yearning must go wholly unsatisifed until I reach eternity.

Zechariah continues to speak the word of God when he tells the people “speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely…love truth and peace.” These commands are tied up with this vision because these actions start to build this city. We create a little piece of heaven when we treat one another with respect and love, and we experience a foretaste of eternity when we eat and play and sit together.

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