I’M writing this the day after the terrorist attacks in Spain, reflecting on the news reports of another terrorist attack in our troubled world.

In church, most Sundays, for as long as I can remember, we’ve taken a moment of silence, or to light a candle, as we reflect on news reports on the horror of the senseless loss of life. And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with sadness, to feel ‘it’s all too much’, to want to make a difference but to not quite know how to respond, especially if the attack is close to home, affecting children or vulnerable people.

In recent times we have seen an outpouring of kindness and generosity in the camps in Calais, to the people in London, to foodbanks on a weekly basis; and it’s in seeking to make a difference that it’s helpful to remember the teaching of Jesus. The prayer of Jesus is, and has always been that we learn to love one another (John 17:11). But how do we love? When things are so close to home? When attacks affect us and our families? When the attacks are so heinous? We can only love the one in front or alongside us, the one God has placed in our path.

Mother Theresa said many wise things, but the one relevant to this situation is, “If you want to bring peace to the whole world, go home and love your family.” Jesus’ command was to love God with all that we have and to love your neighbour as yourself.

Loving our neighbour can be costly. It asks for sacrifice, patience, love, peace and understanding of one another. To spend time listening to those who don’t think the same as us, to seek common ground.

And so, as we think and pray for the victims of the attacks in Spain, you might like to use this well-known prayer of St Francis: “Make me a channel of your peace. Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope; where there is darkness, only light; and where there's sadness, ever joy.” Amen.

Rev Lee Davies, Vicar, St Michael & All Angels, Knights Enham and St Paul’s Church and Community Centre, Andover.