Rector’s Magazine Letter
A slow death….
Just over three years ago Anne and I spent two wonderful weeks in Syria. We were visiting our daughter who had been studying in Damascus for a year. Shortly before the end of our visit we became aware of increased security at bus stations in the major cities. When we got home we realised why: we had witnessed the uncertain beginnings of what has become a brutal and apparently unending civil war.
Of all the many photographs we took, the one that haunts us most is of a family we met in Aleppo. Two young children had shyly approached us to ask if their parents could take a picture of them standing with us. We then took one of them in return: two smiling children and their par-ents frozen in time in an Aleppo market that has now, in all likelihood, been bombed to destruction along with the rest of that once vibrant city. I thought of that family again when I was reading about Nasrin on the Christian Aid website just before Easter. Nasrin is a mother of four living in desperate circumstances in a refugee camp in northern Iraq, one of over two million Syrians who have fled from their homeland and now live in neighbouring countries. ‘If they bomb me in Syria I would die immediately’, Nasrin said. ‘Here it is a slow death.’
It is difficult for us even to frame the questions we have about this ter-rible situation, let alone find answers. Theology can seem a desiccated discipline in the face of such unspeakable evil, and the presence of God impossible to discern. Perhaps all we can do, as we pray for the people of Syria, is echo the cry of abandonment Jesus uttered on the cross, and yet hold fast to our Easter hope that ‘love will live again, that with the dead has been’.
With my very best wishes to you all,