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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

14 June 2017: Sylvia Roberts, St Peter's Church, Petersfield

Bridge over troubled waters

The oldest bridge in the world still in use is thought to be in Turkey over the River Meles in Izmir (formerly Smyrna). The oldest bridge in the UK is probably Tarr Steps on Exmoor although the remains of a bridge dating from 1,500 BC has been unearthed during excavations in Hampshire at Testwood Lake.

Bridges bring people together so it is tragic that two London bridges have been the centre of terrorist atrocities which seem entirely designed to drive people apart, to bring fear and destruction and death and to polarize people and cause them to retreat back into protected communities.

Wordsworth’s beautiful poem composed on Westminster Bridge on 3rd September 1802, “Earth has not anything to show more fair,” celebrates that bridge and London Bridge has its own song too, often sung by children’s voices so it seemed ghastly that these celebrated bridges should be the focus of such horror and yet the very terrorist acts themselves unleashed the best and deepest love in ordinary people. The sort of love that surprised and stunned those people themselves. Unarmed police officers running bravely and thoughtless of their own safety right at the assailants; innocent, ordinary people rushing to the injured and staunching their wounds and cradling the dying; black cab drivers scooping up those in danger and transporting them, free of charge, to safety; strangers offering other strangers a haven and a bed for the night.

Evil acts of all kinds fill up the total quotient of evil abroad in the world. Those acts must be neutralised and overcome by all people of good will filling the reservoirs of good which nourish the world - so let us each do a good deed today. Let’s do five good and loving deeds today… quietly, unobtrusively, unbidden, and silently, like the tide coming in, the vats of goodness will be filling and love will overcome evil and strong bridges can be built.

The tenth PACT Prayer Day will be held at St Peter's today from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm - everyone is invited to pop in for as long or short a time as you can manage

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