Thursday, 19 June 2008

A different way of living

When Jimmy Mizen was murdered in London last month, his mother spoke of the parents of the man who killed him saying ‘we’ve got such lovely memories of Jimmy and they will have such sorrow about their son’. This seemed the most compassionate and understanding thing which a mother could possibly have been said. I noted it down, partly so it might help focus me in other less troubled circumstances when I need to respond more compassionately and with more understanding than my instinct usually prompts me to, and partly (I admit) simply in case it would become useful in a sermon.

His Funeral takes place tomorrow in the Catholic church in London which he attended, and I’ve just listened to the radio interview with his parents which was broadcast on Sunday. The trail said his mother refused to be bitter because ‘it would destroy my family if I’m not careful, and I won’t allow that to happen’ which also seemed to be a simple careful putting of the Lord’s teaching into practice. But what struck me most was they would not allow themselves to be trapped into producing predictable sound bites for sermons, and somehow this seems to give those quotations an impact they would not have had if they were spoken with fixed certain smiles.

The interviewer invited them to say something like ‘we know we’ll meet again in heaven’. They didn’t. Instead they said they did believe in eternal life but they had no idea how that would be experienced. He invited them to say something about being angry with God or not. They didn’t. Instead they spoke about how society has had similar troubles for many years. They also said they understood there were those who lost faith at times like this and they were grateful that their own experience instead was that their faith had supported them. He invited them to say something about forgiveness. They were explicit that they could not give an answer to the question. They said it was too soon to know how they will feel in the future but they hoped the peace they had would prove to be the seeds from which forgiveness might grow. He invited them to say something about blame. They spoke instead about how we need to look towards ourselves and see whether a different way of living is possible.

The picture is last year’s Easter Candle at St Nicolas’, Great Coates.

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