Click here to Download ‘Into the Neighbourhood’ - an Advent Candle Liturgy from HopeandHistory.com
We believe that in all acts of reconciliation we need to accept humbly our own part in how the past has shaped the present; our complicity in the divisions within our society and our contribution to the pain that different people across the spectrum of our society have experienced. We need to seek forgiveness for the past and change the way that we live and speak and act in the present, in order to foster a shared and peaceful future.
We believe that key Gospel principles have much to contribute to the wellbeing of all of our community whether we are Christian, atheist, agnostic or of any faith. Central to them all is Jesus’ command to “love our neighbour”; not a passive sentimental saying, but a radically transformational idea, especially as he went further and demanded that we also love our enemies, and forgive those who have done wrong to us.
Forgive us, as his followers, where we have failed to follow his words and actions in this regard.
Join us as we seek to make such high ideals our contribution to our shared space; as we seek to address the pain of the past and the tensions in the present, so that they may not limit the possibilities that lie in the future.
We believe that there is hope. Our country has come a long way in twenty years. There are relationships at political, Church and community level that would have been unimaginable in 1993. However we need to draw on sources of imagination, generosity and endurance to go further, going beyond pragmatic, political structures that are based on a lack of trust and common feeling, and seeking to establish a truly peaceful society, where there is not only an absence of violence and the threat of violence, but a common sense of stability, welfare and opportunity for all.
This begins with a commitment to listen truly to one another, then resolving to work together so that all our children and our neighbours’ children will flourish in a new Northern Ireland, a society that is truly at peace.
Heaney’s poem is known for its lines:
History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.