"I'm human, they're human. If I didn't help I wouldn't be able to live with myself." "They want us to turn on our neighbours, but that's not going to happen. We support one another. I'm going to stay in town today and walk about and smile at people." These responses from a homeless man and a bar tender at the scene in Manchester are a clear call to our common humanity. Similarly responses after the London Bridge incident included many acts of bravery, and kindness, such as London's Sikh Gurdwaras offering food and sanctuary.
The forces of division hate the 'grey zone', the space where we can be together despite our differences. Evil always aims to divide, to provoke us into demonising each other, to dehumanise our life together.
We are called to assert life and be rooted in love - in all its tenderness, brilliance and strength. The spirit of Pentecost promotes unity and prompts us to resist the forces of division. Above all it calls us to be carriers of light in the world, to be a people capable of witnessing what it means to be a human person. Relativism and political correctness have weakened our ability to speak about difficult things, so this does require courage. We should insist on freedom of expression and religion. Salafi and other jihadists are serious and their cult of death is highly organised. Those Muslims bravely countering this hijacking of their tradition need our support.
At the same time individualism and nihilism have weakened our common life. The antidote to division is building relationships: resisting political tribalism and sectarianism, bringing the mutually suspicious together to meet each other as human beings: Brexiteers and Remainers, metropolitan and traditional communities, old and young, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, shareholders and employees, socially conservative and liberal, weak and strong, management and workers, religious and secular, urban and rural, people of different faith communities or on different sides of internal church conflicts...
When people who have been divided take the risk to work together for a good purpose, despite their differences, they create a common good. We are not meant to be the same, or think the same: but we do share a common humanity. We are all members of the same body, and our body needs healing. People of goodwill are being called to take responsibility and work together. This is way too big for any government, but a competent and good government will help.