2nd May 2019
It’s just over two years since PC Keith Palmer, a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Group, died from wounds he received during the Palace of Westminster attack. The Sri Lankan Easter Sunday horrors are among the most recent terrorist atrocities. Terrorism is constantly in the news with lives being lost on a daily basis somewhere or other in our anguished world. The impact on communities is enormous, but often the Emergency Services — police, paramedics, fire and rescue personnel — and Special Forces are among the first casualties, not only because of the dangers they’re exposed to in neutralising the attacks, but because of the emotional fall-out of their exposure to the carnage.
A few weeks ago I was on my way to the Police HQ at Portishead near Bristol when I came across a fatal collision. For the first police officers who arrived at the scene it was their second fatal in less than 24 hours. A few days ago I spent time with a Road Policing Unit Officer who had just dealt with his 50th fatality in six years! During the last couple of months two of our officers were in critical condition after responding to 999 calls. Physical scars are often visible. The emotional wounds and scars of emergency personnel and their families are not so obvious, but they are real.
It’s been my privilege to support the men and women of one of the largest constabularies in the UK for over 20 years. From the earliest days of my journey with Jesus, engaging with people where they are has been part of my spiritual DNA. A church without presence is a church with no relevance. As a small team of volunteer chaplains for Avon and Somerset Police, we offer unconditional support to those of any faith or none, those who wear a uniform and those who don’t.
What’s the response? Here are some quotes: “I felt there was no one else I could talk to…” “There are some things I’d talk to my colleagues about. There’s nothing I wouldn’t talk to a chaplain about…” And… “You’re like an insurance policy. I hope I’ll never need you but, if I do, I know you’re there.”
We serve an awe-inspiring God who answers prayer. Now is the time to see the forces of darkness pushed back in our needy nation. Let’s pray for the safety and salvation of those who put their lives on the line for us day by day… And, in the name of the One who came to give us life in all its fullness, let’s let them know that we value and appreciate them.
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