Author Archives: Alan Yates

Indiscriminate Violence

As I drove home today I heard about the terrorist attack in Stockholm, with what seems to be the weapon of choice these days, a motor vehicle.  It was fortunate that the bomb the truck was carrying did not go off.  Another sad occasion and my heart and prayers go out to those involved in the incident.  What gets into a man’s heart (and I think the recent examples have all been men) to make him think it is OK to drive a vehicle into innocent and unknown passers-by?    In the past week President Trump has threatened North Korea and has sent cruise missiles into Syria.  I heard a commentator saying that President Trump’s missile attack on the Syrian airbase had been within an ‘inch’ of the Russians launching a retaliation!  And just before I published this blog I heard of the news of two bombs detonated in Egypt targeting Christians on Palm Sunday!

The chorus on the song Pete Seeger wrote in the mid-fifties comes to mind … When will they ever learn?

A common response to these atrocious acts is to ask where is God in all this?  Fortunately, I don’t have to theorise about free will but simply turn to the acts of the ordinary people in the street who were caught up in the attack on Westminster: they got down on their knees to help the injured.  Hundreds more turned out to the ‘service of hope’ in Westminster Abbey last Wednesday.  The love of God continues to shine even through the darkness.

Let me finish with a prayer from Michael Jagessar.

God of peace and possibility, in the midst of strife, violence, distress and chaos we turn to you. We pray for those mourning the dead and grieving over the strife in their land(s). Bring healing to all who are suffering from violence that is creating divisions, pain, destruction and death. Turn the hearts of all towards the way of love and compassion – so that goodness, just deeds, the common good, hope, and trust may flourish. Lead all to turn their instruments of death into gifts of life – so that the cycle of violence and chaos may be broken with the way of peace, reconciliation and love. We pray in the name of the peaceful one, who taught us to pray ‘that heaven will invade earth’. Amen

Blessings to you all,


Freedom Seder

On Monday evening, I attended the first Freedom Seder organised by the Council for Christians and Jews (CCJ).

The Seder ceremonial meal

The Seder is a ritual which takes place at the beginning of the Jewish festival of Passover.  At its most basic the Seder (Hebrew for “Order”) is designed to remind people of the story of the Exodus from Egypt through various retellings and symbolic foods, and includes a ceremonial meal at its centre.   The photograph shows the ceremonial meal: the lamb bone, the bitter herbs etc on the plate, the box of unleavened bread and the red grape juice.

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Scottish Sun and Hospitality

Drumchapel Essenside URC

Last weekend I spent an enjoyable time with Revd William Young and his two churches in the Glasgow area: Clydebank Morison Memorial Church and Drumchapel Essenside Church.  The previous weekend had been the 125th Anniversary for Morison Memorial, celebrated with the help of Douglas McAllister, the Provost of West Dunbartonshire, and Revd Dr David Pickering, the Moderator of the National Synod of Scotland.  I guess they might be feeling moderatored out!

Morison Memorial Church, Clydebank

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