Over the years I’ve sometimes wondered what society really cares about? ‘Am I boverred?’, seemed the standard response of individuals and institutions.
Yet now, thousands of miles from home, the city I love has exploded. Already the analysis has started. Is it unemployment, dissaffection, institutional racism, criminal opportunism, or even the death of the consumerist dream?
Who knows. All we want is an end. All we want is safety and sanity for those we know and those we worry for (boys, I hope you have found home these last nights). There will be years for talk. There will be years for action. But perhaps the first response is one that must be soaked in tears, for our city, our people, our communities, ourselves. Tears don’t rush to analyse, judge or blame. Tears hold anger, confusion and despair. Tears acknowledge the deep reality of things for now.
I for one, follow someone who wept over the distant view of his home city, mourning its self-destructive impulse. Watching the news feeds I have found tears close to the surface for my community. In the absence of sufficient answers the only starting attitude is on the knees in tears, from which we can rise to act in hope.
Immediately after he wept for Jerusalem, Jesus’ journey continued to eventually transform the world. If we are truly ‘boverred’ by what has taken place in these 3 days and more, will we be bothered to offer the same depth of sacrifice for our society as he did?
Let’s start by supporting order and sweeping the streets. But that must be accompanied by listening, challenging, funding, encouraging, demanding, enabling, resisting, supporting, and building real relationships and hope for all. It will be messy, complex, long-term, and misunderstood, and many will not love the city enough to stay the course.
But I for one am bothered. It’s more than enough to make me weep. How about you?