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A member of the congregation recently told me that they are heading to Belfast (where I am from), for a few days break this month.
As there is less risk of political violence these days, Northern Ireland is increasingly seen as somewhere to spend a few days. One of the attractions is to go down to the newly founded Titanic Quarter, where, you guessed it, the Titanic was built (Don’t worry, you haven’t accidently clicked on the Northern Irish tourist board website, I am getting to something religious!). Amongst other things you’ll get up close to the iconic cranes at the Harland and Wolf shipyard, which are named Samson and Goliath. In fact, they stand out on the Belfast skyline as landmark structures and feature prominently in the marketing of Belfast, as it seeks regeneration.
If you’ve been saying the Morning Prayer office recently the stories Samson and Goliath have come around in the Old Testament readings. Two Iconic ‘Strong men’ who are impressive in their ability to strike fear in opponents, but their over-confidence leads to their demise. One of my favourite characters in the Bible is David, he is far from perfect, but he was described as a ‘man after God’s heart’. When David confronted the Giant Goliath, he didn’t rely on his own sense on superiority but a trust in God, that was the result of a true heart.
Next month we are going to have a new Prime Minister. They have some very difficult decisions awaiting them. Immediate concerns around how we are going to deal with the cost of living, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, global warming and the much mentioned but rarely defined ‘Levelling up’. The Church and its congregations should be praying for a new Prime Minister that has a true heart that will make decisions based on the really difficult living conditions pensioners, young families, the unemployed, those with disabilities are going to face when cold weather requires a choice between heating or eating.
Places like Belfast and similarly other post-industrial parts of the U.K are trying to regenerate, they are looking to grow, become more attractive, more polished, a place where graduates want to live. This shouldn’t be at the expense of the most marginalised society. As the most vulnerable are living in fear of high living prices, let’s continue to pray for our future prime minister, whoever they may be, that they have a true heart.
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