17 Jan 2017
Reconciliation is difficult. We know this. But the alternative is worse. As of tonight, the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont has collapsed. Whatever private good will exists between the two main parties is irrelevant and we are facing a snap election.
Today for our reading at Corrymeela, we read the lines from Luke’s gospel: “An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me.” It is a relevant text, showing that leadership is demonstrated in gestures of inclusion; gestures that are the antidotes to divisive questions of power and greatness.
All of the people living in this part of Ireland deserve leadership that is creative and envisioned in its hope for a future that is to the betterment of all citizens; those who are Irish, or British, or both or neither.
Today, as we move formally into an election cycle, we call on all politicians to demonstrate gestures of inclusion, and to follow those gestures with action. We call on politicians to speak of the achievements of peace and reconciliation in their electioneering, and ask them to honour those from within and without their party lines, national identities and community affiliations.
Reconciliation is difficult, so is Leadership. As Corrymeela we are willing to host gatherings – on and off the record – for community groups and political leaders who wish to meet each other in a spirit of cooperation, reconciliation and good will. A reconciling future will be built on a reconciling present. Let us share and make stories of reconciliation in this time rather than stoking fears and suspicion.