I was just about to get into my car when I heard a woman from one of the flats in my building yelling. I looked up and she was holding a baby, must have been about 6 months to a year, I don't know much about these things. She was yelling: "She's going to die! She's going to die! She can't breathe!" There were people all around her, making phonecalls, trying to reassure her. The child was limp and grey, I'm sure she was already dead. I called up and offered to drive her to a hospital. I didn't know what else I could do, I wanted to do something, but there was nothing I could offer her. She didn't need my help, an ambulance was already on its way.
I left with a horrible sense that I had just brushed the fringe of the birth of someone's tradgedy. I had witnessed the panicked beginnings of some horrific grief that I can't even begin to imagine. It seemed so wierd that something so monumentally tragic could have just happened in the building where I live. And that things like that are probably happening around me all the time. There are stories like that behind many of the lights I see in the windows of tower blocks around Peckham.
It just occured to me that it's absolutely right to pray for the hastening of Jesus' return. I used to flinch from praying that, because I didn't want him to come back before the people I love know him. And whilst I still feel the pain of that fear, I've realised how selfish it is not to want Jesus to return soon. It's tantamount to saying that I want things like what I witnessed today to continue; that I want horrible things like death and suffering to carry on a little while longer, until I get my affairs sorted.
Someone asked me last week, what I like best about being a Christian. My answer was, that I can be sure that there will be an end to all this. That this is not all that there is. That we won't always have to live in a world where I can look up and see a grieving mother holding a dead baby. That God sees and weeps and cares about things like this, and has promised to come back and clean up the mess. That he will one day take me home to a place where all this CRAP is gone forever, and there will finally be a day when he will say 'enough!' I understand fully now, why Christians pray for this day to come soon.....