Many of us have probably mimed or hummed along to our British National Anthem. Everyone knows the first line but will need to guess all of the others…a bit like Auld Lang Syne!!
The British National Anthem dates back to the eighteenth century and was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745. The words and tune are anonymous, and in total, around 140 composers, including Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms, have used the tune in their compositions.
The British National Anthem is a tune that has been on ‘repeat’ in my brain for approximately the last month, which is not something that has happened before!
It all began when a few weeks ago I woke to see my husband sitting bolt upright in bed exclaiming that something dreadful had happened. The news was saturated with the same story, as was the majority of social media. Despite the beautiful sunshine it felt like the world would never be quite the same again, not as bright and not as warm.
And I was not and am not, the only person to feel like this. We became a nation united in its determination to stand against that which sought to destroy us, as one we embraced those who had suffered and whose lives were ended or would never be the same.
The reason for the nations unity was the haunting photos of young lives prematurely ended by a terrorist bomber in Manchester that has been our worst terrorist incident since the London Train Bombing.
Many, if not all of us, would have been deeply moved and maybe shed a tear (or ten!) as we sympathised with people we have never met and in all likelihood never will.
We may have looked heavenward and prayed earnestly for God’s strength, peace and joy to fill and uphold them. To look with mercy and grace upon those souls that had expected to spend the evening screaming along to Ariana Grande and instead found themselves standing in front of Jesus Christ.
Then just as we the world started to take on a semblance of normality we had the London Bridge attack, Grenfell Tower tragedy and the attack at Finsbury Mosque. More innocent lives needlessly lost and worlds turned upside down.
Whilst I struggle to understand what would lead a person to take another’s life, my nationalistic pride has magnified as clips of policeman, fireman, doctors, nurses, celebrities and everyday heroes battling against destructive forces have been shown almost continuously. Many millions of pounds have been raised and numerous items donated as people showed love and tried to do what they could with what they have.
As it’s been written many, many times in terrorist and disaster situations we see the best and worst of humanity…we could probably add we also see the best and worst of humanity when it comes to money as Grenfell Tower highlights.
But despite the rapidly shifting landscape, the overwhelming feeling that nowhere is safe, some things remain steadfastly the same.
Our Bibles remain the infallible Word of God (2 Tim 3:16). The Holy Spirit will still fill the lives and bodies of those who invite Him in (Luke 11:9-13). Jesus remains ‘the same, yesterday and today and forever’ (Heb 13:8).
We are still to be people that grow and show good fruit (Gal 5:22-23) and acknowledge that ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’ (2 Tim 1:7) which means we listen to the truth, not the media hype.
Our commission (Matt 28:16-20) hasn’t changed and neither has the message (John 14:6). We can stand assured that John 3:16 still has the power to change lives, families, neighbourhoods, towns, cities and nations.
Our politicians are still fallible, capable of making mistakes and in desperate need of support through prayer (1 Tim 2:1-3).
Our earthly Queen still sits on her throne and our Heavenly King still rule’s eternal on His.
As hate, in it’s many disguises, tries to worm its way into our everyday existence we need to fight back with love. To accept people for who they are regardless of whether they accept us, to match actions to our words and be ‘light’ wherever we are and whomever we are with.