Will there be a thaw any time soon?

The last in this series of live Thought for the Days (as usual you can pick it up here for one week only at 25 and 85 minutes into the programme... I have one more to produce next Monday but it will be pre-recorded as I will be elsewhere next week). This picks up on one of the themes of yesterday's studio service for Palm Sunday, and, in many ways, a repeated frustration with the direction of travel in this province.

So we’ve just had a weekend where the province ground to a halt because of the unseasonable weather… Including the bizarre experience of an international football match between Russia and Northern Ireland being called off because of snow here… I wonder what the Russians made of that given the much worse weather they have to play through every winter?
As I listened to Sunday Sequence yesterday morning it was also interesting to hear a lengthening list of Palm Sunday services being called off because of the snow… It’s not unusual to have services cancelled around Christmas… But this is the run up to Easter!!!
However, as I thought about it there is something appropriate about the cancelation of Palm Sunday celebrations in the face of adversity… because if you think back on that first Palm Sunday there were the crowds acclaiming Jesus as the coming King… but when things didn’t go the way they had hoped for they melted away like snow and their support for Jesus evaporated… The same people may not have been in the crowd calling for Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, but there were certainly no voices acclaiming him as messiah on that morning…
That’s people power for you… Leaders have to learn that it’s the crowd that calls the tune… Fall foul of popular opinion and you face ending up out in the cold… at least…
On that first Palm Sunday the crowds shouted “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord… Glory in the highest heaven and on earth peace…”
But Jesus wept over the city saying “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes… you did not recognise the time of God's coming to you."
His analysis proved accurate… as later that week, on Good Friday, this King, this Prince of Peace, ended up on a cross…
15 years ago, the majority of people on this island acclaimed the Good Friday agreement, as a key milestone in the pursuit of peace in this province… But there is an ongoing reluctance among our political leaders to take the radical steps that will really make for peace, reconciliation and integration in this land… Too often we fearfully retreat into defence of the familiar, and there is a refusal to publically acknowledge that there have been hurts, injustices and legitimate alternative perspectives on both sides.
As we some attempt to make their way to work in towns and cities once again open for business, while other parts of the country have not yet been freed from the grip of ice and snow… may we all experience a thaw of heart and mind, so that all our eyes may be opened to what really makes for peace…

Shalom

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