Radio Leicester Thought for the day

John Denney,  19 September 2001


Thought for the Day here on Radio Leicester is supposed to reflect on some current item of news.  And there is still only one item that dominates every bulletin and current affairs programme and newspaper.  The terrorist outrages of 11th September in New York and Washington and Philadelphia have shaken everyone.  Friends and family and colleagues in several countries have been in touch with me by e-mail and phone.  They tell me that there is the same shock where they are as we feel here, and the same incomprehension, and the same fear.  Which is exactly what the perpetrators of these crimes hoped would happen.


And the story is not yet over.  Even though the Mayor of New York has said there is virtually no hope of finding any remaining survivors, there are still people clinging to the faint hope that their loved one will be found alive.  The United States, the most formidably armed nation in the world, trying to create a united world front against terrorism, while apparently preparing to wreak a terrible retribution against those who aid and shelter the foes of democracy.


As I speak, there are so many unanswered questions.  Will the rulers of Afghanistan extradite Osama bin Laden to the Americans?  What will the Americans do with him if he is handed over?  What form will the war against terrorism take?  What will be the reaction of the terrorist groups: will we see the launch of a bitter campaign of terror against the peoples of the democracies?  What will be the effect of all this on relations between the various racial and religious communities in this country and abroad?  We certainly live in uncertain times.


Right now, many people feel frightened, tossed about on the stormy waves of uncharted waters.  Many generations of humanity have experienced similar feelings: in times of war, and famine and plague.  And like them we can turn to the words of Scripture for comfort.  Two and half thousand years ago, a psalm was written.  It[1] starts like this:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

And it ends with these words of affirmation and assurance:

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.


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[1] Ps 46: 1-2; 11