In truth, I don’t remember much about the day itself – like where I was when I heard. But I do remember vividly some of the images: the roof of the bus, opened like a tin can, and the blanket clad bloodied travellers being helped by the emergency services, medics and paramedics running, always running, because time was of the essence in saving the lives of those who were bleeding out.
It’s ten years since that day. 7/7 the British equivalent of 9/11. Where has the time gone, for those of us whose lives have moved on, changed jobs and homes, watched children grow up and faced our own domestic dramas. There will be some for whom time has stood still, the daily consequences of that day being lived out as if it’s still a nightmare from which they hope to awaken.
7/7 – ironic really, from the point of view of Revelation. 6/6 might have been more appropriate. John would not have failed to see the irony with his keen awareness of the significance of numbers.
On this tenth anniversary, as chance would have it, my reading in Revelation has brought me to chapter 21: Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
Amid the violence, disaster, suffering and tears of life in this beautiful world so marred by sin, there is hope. 7/7 was a day for the ‘old order of things’ but, through the victory of the slaughtered lamb who has triumphed over death, we await a day when these old ways have gone – for ever. There is, I think, no more beautiful and compassionate picture of God in Scripture than this, that God will wipe away our tears. On this day of painful remembrance may those who sorrow know the divine embrace and handkerchief as a proleptic experience of that day when there will be no more death.
Below is a Youtube link to the moving musical expression of this text by Karl Jenkins. I prefer the Polyphony version, and there’s an Amazon link to that too. It is the music of heaven.