There are no words adequate to express the shock, outrage, anger or compassion that pretty much anyone and everyone will be feeling just now. Our prayers – and, wherever possible, our compassionate action – is all we have to offer. I’m touched by the response of the people of Manchester itself, which has demonstrated in the face of such an appalling act of ignominy that it is a place of resilient courage, heart and openness. It’s people – of every race, creed and kind – have not only declared their intention not to be defeated by terror, but in giving blood, in caring for the wounded, and in opening homes, hotels and taxis to those in need they have shown us all how to react.
In coming days what has happened will doubtless be examined in the minutest detail. People who know, and many more who don’t know, but who have opinions, will tell us what caused this and what it means. Interminably. And, may God forgive us, well-meaning Christians will offer platitudes intended to reassure. Sometimes silence is better. I’ve already read countless opinions telling the people of Manchester what they should have done, must now do, or should be feeling, and that’s nobody’s business but theirs.
So I return to where I started. The very best thing I can do is pray, and act in compassion. Manchester: you are courageous. And we pray for you right now.