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A violent reality

A violent reality

Something to read

This is what the Lord says: ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.’

- Jeremiah 31:15.

Something to think about

The Feast of the Holy Innocents is marked today in Eastern churches (and yesterday in Western churches). After the warm glow of Christmas celebrations, this day comes as a sudden jolt in the liturgical calendar; a stark reminder of the violent reality of the world into which Jesus was born.

In his jealous rage at the whispers of a baby king born in Bethlehem, King Herod the Great ordered the massacre of all the children under two years old in the region. The agony of that generation of parents is hard to fathom, and no doubt the trauma of that tremendous loss rippled through families for many years to come.

Children are always at great risk when tyrants strike out. They are vulnerable and dependent, posing no material threat, yet they also represent potential, possibility and hope: the very thing that oppressors seek to squash. The honoured place given to children in the kingdom of God, about which we read in yesterday’s verses, speaks of the Christian values of peace, hope and human flourishing. They should make us all the more determined to stand against violence in all its forms, and to give our support to families who are forced from their homes by war.

Something to do

Read the latest on Christian Aid’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, and donate if you can.

Something to pray

God of compassion, some stories feel too terrible to hear, let alone live through. Please protect children and their families who have had to leave their homes, and give me the courage not to turn away from the stories of those fleeing violence. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones