OUR nation at present is in a state of shock at the horror of terrorism, prejudice-motivated hatred, and the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.

When the unthinkable happens and our hearts are overwhelmed with grief, when it seems that there is suffering upon suffering and fear seems uppermost in the minds and hearts of many, including innocent children, when words fail us…

I am reminded of two words that encapsulate the emotion that we are experiencing at present. ‘Jesus wept’. This is the shortest Bible verse and yet one which offers a lens into the heart of God for all humanity.

Jesus understands heartbreak, grief and loss. The context in which these two words are written are when Jesus’ friend Lazarus died. Lazarus’ sisters were grief-stricken. Jesus knows what grief feels like. Jesus felt compassion. Jesus wept.

When people try to rob individuals or indeed a nation of peace and harmony with one and another — Jesus weeps.

When evil tries to destroy freedom that is humankind’s right — Jesus weeps.

Jesus stood against injustice and suffering. Jesus stood with those who wept when they were weeping.

How did Jesus deal with grief? Jesus prayed for comfort, for healing, for life.

He offered hope, comfort, and assured those who were with him that nothing would ever separate them from the love and grace of God.

Today we weep — and God who made all people in God’s own image is with us in our time of sorrow.

With words of comfort from the Bible, ‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted…’; ‘Do not fear, for I am with you’.

Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you…”

This peace from God has as its goal: a relationship with God. Friendship, beauty, unity, care, love, hope and joy.

In the midst of our grief and sorrow may we come together in prayer. May the opposite of terrorism’s goals be evidenced instead of divisions.

Peace, respect and love in common unity — care for humankind. This is community!

May God’s comfort, grace and peace be yours.

Rev Carmel Ieraci, Methodist Minister, Andover