Miracle Moment

“Miracle near the River Lagan?”

There is a story told, probably too often, by preachers. It is the one drawn from the book entitled, Miracle on the River Kwai. I used it myself at a funeral recently after checking I had the facts correctly. The miracle I thought the story referred to was the courageous act of a Scottish Soldier who was willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of his fellows. It happened as an angry prison officer threatened to shoot them one by one if no-one admitted having stolen a spade for which they could not account. Without a word, he stepped forward and was beaten to death.

It was a wonderful corollary to the willingness of Jesus to offer his life for the unworthy, like each of us. In the story, the missing spade was found to be in the store after all! The “innocent” died for the others.

But I think the true miracle was the effect this act had on his fellow prisoners. Prior to the crucial event, the atmosphere among the prisoners of war was one of anger, in-fighting, a living hell. After the incident it changed as the cess-pool mood turned to compassion and support.

When the war was over the prisoners made an act of forgiveness to the commanding officer of the camp. A miracle indeed.

On 9th August past, the BBC described the anniversary of 541 days without government in the following terms

Northern Ireland is set to become the country without a government for the longest period in peacetime, but it will not be officially recognised.

Neither of the main parties can see past their rightly held reservations and are blinded to the harm and embarrassment their decision not to work together is causing. Imagine how much benefit some local government initiative could do to soften the damage caused by the recent fire in the Bank Buildings/Primark! Surely this event would be enough to create a “Miracle near the River Lagan”.

Here’s hoping.