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Peace the way to fight Boston marathon terror

Six times runner of the London Marathon, The Reverend Philip Young says the best way to combat the horror of terrorism is to work for a more peaceful world by being more peaceful.

Philip Young marathonRunning a Marathon is a wonderful experience.  I have run six London Marathons since 2005.  I was hoping to run the London Marathon again this Sunday 21st April 2013 for the charity WaterAid.  I am very disappointed that a knee injury is preventing me running this year.

We are all shocked and devastated by the news from the Boston Marathon.  How quickly was a joyful and positive event turned into a scene of immense sadness and grief?  All our thoughts and prayers are with the people whose lives have been literally torn and blown apart.

Our reaction is one of immense sympathy. We find it hard to imagine the pain that some people must be experiencing.  We are also heartened by the bravery of the first responders in Boston, and by those runners who ran onto the hospital to give their own blood to help the injured.  Acts of terror and human evil, which are the worst that human beings can do, are often matched by acts of caring, love and self-sacrifice, which are the best that human beings can do.

So can I suggest that the very best way that the rest of us can react to acts of terrorism is to work for a more peaceful world by being more peaceful in everything that we say and do?

It may seem a simple and naïve request to say that for a more peaceful world to be born, then we ourselves must be more peaceful.  However I could point out that Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King both believed this and produced amazing changes in their lives and in the lives of those around them.  They understood that for violence to be overcome, then something different from violence was needed to overcome the problem.

We must use all our wisdom and intelligence to combat violence otherwise the vicious circle will not be broken.  To break this cycle of violence we need to lessen the total amount of violence in our personal and our social lives.

Let us just think how violent the world has become and let us begin to dismantle the reliance on violence to solve our future problems.  We must reflect on the amount of money and energy we spend on guns and weapons and think about how better to spend our resources.

Let’s just think about WaterAid for a moment.  There are people dying every day from polluted water.  WaterAid says, ‘that around 700,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.  That’s almost 2,000 people a day.’  Lack of clean water could easily be said to be a form of violence in our world.  Children are violently sick and their lives ended painfully when they die from drinking foul water.

So let us commit ourselves to working to end water poverty, and other forms of poverty in the world.  Just think how much could be achieved if we reduced spending on violent weapons and spent it instead on providing clean water and good nutrition for the world’s poor?

I won’t be running the London Marathon this year, but you could still support WaterAid by sponsoring me not to run!!  Or you could work for a more peaceful world by sponsoring someone you know who is running this year for one of the many good charities. I shall be there cheering all the runners on, including two of my nephews, who I have sponsored.  It is so important that we don’t let the terrorists get the better of us.  We must respond to their negativity with our love and positivity.

Our goodness and our own work for peace will make the world of difference.  If ordinary people of goodwill work together for peace, then we can eliminate the evil of war and terrorism.

If the world becomes a more peaceful place then there will be less terrorism and we can spend our money, resources and time on caring for one another and our planet.

You can sponsor Philip for not running the London Marathon for WaterAid at www.virginmoneygiving.com/reverendphilip 

Pictured above: Philip running the marathon for WaterAid on a previous occasion


PhilipYoungMarathonWebRev Philip Young is the Norwich Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Church of England. He is also a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a Novice of the Third Order of Franciscans. His work for the Norwich Diocese is part time.  The rest of his time he reads and writes on spiritual matters. He is able available to give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at philip.young@norwich.anglican.org.

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