Monday, July 11, 2005
On Thursday night, with transport crippled by the bombs, thousands of people in London walked the many miles home. It was quite a sight, people consulting their A to Zs, looking for a way to carry on.
Yesterday I watched a parade of Second World War veterans walking to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the War. It was moving and humbling to see those who had given so much walking in step together.
And on Saturday in Bristol a group of people walked around different religious sites, from church to Mosque to Synagogue to Temple to show their solidarity in times of difficulty and their commitment to mutual respect and understanding.
Walking is a basic human activity. Walking is not rushed, but makes steady progress towards our destination. Above all, walking allows us to talk to those we meet, rather than rushing past them in a car. Walking allows us to encounter people on our way.
It is no accident that the Bible tells us that God walks with us. He does not run with us or drive with us. God walks with us. God moves at that pace which allows time for encounter and talk. Even, perhaps especially, when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God walks with us.
Walking gives us time and space to discover ourselves, those around us and God. We walk together in difficult times. We walk together to remember and to show our support for one another. We walk together as we try to find a way to carry on.
In the midst of horror, it may be that walking is as fast as we can go. However much we’d like to run, it is only by walking with each other that we will we be able to listen and to support one another, and find that God is with us as we walk through the dark valley together.
Given on Radio Bristol, 11th July, 2005.