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IBC Women’s Ministry Blog – July 27, 2023

IBC Women’s Ministry Blog – July 27, 2023

Belfast, Ireland (birthplace of RMS Titanic and home of The Troubles)
The Dark Waters

By Jodie Montgomery

Did you know that the time from striking the iceberg to disappearing beneath the calm cold sea on a clear night took only 160 minutes (two hours and 40 minutes)? People blame the loss of ship and lives to arrogance and the unwillingness of those telegraphed (Titanic had the most advanced wireless telegraphy system in the world) or already in a lifeboat to respond to those in the sea. Most of the survivors were first-class passengers while almost everyone who drowned was third-class. We wonder about human character visible in the crisis. Yet, in such a short time and such a moment, we wonder about our own reponse.

In Belfast, the shipyards remind the traveler of luxury and lost lives while the fenced city sections remind of neighbors and relationships lost due to political/religious divides. Belfast has a complicated history that extends over centuries. It started as a Medieval town, industrialized in the 1800s (Titanic being built, early 1900s, in the largest shipyard in the world at that time), and underwent an identity crisis amplified by bombings during The Troubles in the 20th century. The people found their voice in painting murals depicting historical events, hunger strike heroes, prisoners, and memorials to those caught in the bombings. The most bombed hotel in Europe, the Europa, is in Belfast. We spent three nights there, me wondering what it would be like to be suddenly bombed. I remember my Viet Nam War dad jumping up from a dead sleep when we made loud noises during his nap.

From Belfast, our group visited many breathtaking areas: Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce castle ruins, and the seaside towns. The Idlewild choir sang praises to our Prince of Peace for a Catholic mass, the priest wearing Mickey Mouse ears to welcome us. One of the songs, by Keith and Kristyn Getty, seemed to be an anthem for the overcoming people in Belfast. Consider these lyrics as you thank God for each day of His peace:

 

What love could remember no wrongs we have done

Omniscient, all knowing, He counts not their sum

Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore

Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

What patience would wait as we constantly roam

What Father, so tender, is calling us home

He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor

Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more

Stronger than darkness, new every morn

Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

 

There were sighs of relief in Belfast amidst a fresh voice of hope.

Psalm 84:10 “For a day in Your courtyards is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.”

Note:  The Troubles ended when two women activists (one Catholic, one Protestant) who were tired of burying children, husbands and sons campaigned against the conflict. Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Betty Williams were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their courageous steps to peace.

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