After a tragedy strikes we often remember where we were when we heard the news. You may be able to recall vividly the time and place that you first heard about the 9/11 attacks or the 2005 London bombings.
The attack at Westminster last Wednesday seemed to shake something in many of us. It’s moments like this, when our faith in others is suddenly questioned, that it can be so hard to know how to respond.
Yet in such times of tragedy we often seem to see moments of extreme goodness too. There’s a part of the news story that I keep returning to. You’ve probably read about the MP, Tobias Ellwood, who ran towards gunfire to help PC Keith Palmer who had been stabbed. The images of Ellwood which have recurred in the news show him beside the body, with Palmer’s blood smeared across his forehead. He ran directly towards the danger, sharing in the agony and letting himself be covered with the marks of suffering as he knelt beside the broken man in the hope of saving him.
When I see that, I cannot help but be reminded of another: one who saw a hurting world and ran right towards it, rather than turning away. I remember someone who shared in our agony and allowed himself to be covered with the marks of suffering. Every time we look at the cross, we see someone who took on all the brokenness of the people he came to save.
In this time of shock and upset following last week’s events, here is a truth to which we can cling. Tobias Ellwood ran towards suffering in an act of amazing bravery. How much more should it amaze us, then, that Christ knowingly went to his death for us, while we were still sinners?
So perhaps the question to ask now is not, ‘Where were you when you heard about the tragedy?’ Perhaps it should instead be, ‘Where will you choose to ground yourself now that it has happened?’
Do we put our faith in the hasty boundaries we construct, the lines between those capable of causing terrible hurt and those who are not? Or do we put our faith in God? The God who came to save, that our brokenness might be transformed into beauty – a God who looks at us with blood smeared across his face and says: ‘Broken, for you.’
Katherine is studying English at Cambridge University. She blogs the occasional musing at: chatterandscribblings.wordpress.com