I did not post a blog at Easter, because we have been away for a few days. The first photo from the gallery below gives a hint as to what it was that we were running from: the dust and debris of our house. Our landlord has finally joined the march of civilization and has decided to replace our Victorian windows with double glazing. In principal this makes us happy, but the practical implementation is somewhat of an ordeal – especially the timeline of this implementation. Our house has been a dusty mess since Wednesday. When we went on holiday on Friday, they assured us that it would be finished on that day. But upon returning home last night we saw that the edges were not plastered, so this week we can expect even more dust.
So it was good to have a break. We went to Salisbury, where we looked at one of the copies of the Magna Carta in the cathedral. This is a document from 1215, in which the English king transfers part of his powers to the barons. This is quite interesting, it relates to human rights and freedom of expression. We went even further back in time at Stonehenge, which of course was very special. Eventually we even visited the Jurassic Coast yesterday, a part of the English coastline where rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous lie on the surface.
We stayed in Wilton, a village near Salisbury. I really have to advertise a pub there, Pembroke Arms. We walked in here on the first evening, attracted by the crackling fire and looking for a meal. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that the menu had an extensive vegan section! It turned out that the owner was vegan. So instead of surviving on fries with salad for a week, I had plenty of choice every night. Something else that surprised me were the ‘pigs villages’ that we saw everywhere in the landscape. Vast fields with a pattern of small canopies and tents. And hundreds of free ranging pigs. A strange view.
To still complete the series of Easter, I will report on my experience with restorative justice at the police. As I wrote earlier, my bike was stolen. The offender turned out to be a boy who had built a bike that was stolen from his grandmother’s front yard. I had a conversation with him at the police station; Freddy was there too. The conversation was led by a volunteer, and there was a policeman. We both told our side of the story, what happened and how we felt. The boy clearly regretted his action and he apologized. In my turn, I said that I accepted the apology.
It seemed as if both the boy and the police thought in terms of ‘retribution’, while we and the moderator were more conscious of the principles of restorative justice. For instance, the boy kept saying “sorry is not enough”, even though we kept ensuring him that in this case it was enough. And the agent tried to keep the boy on the right path by threatening; he emphasized that the case would be brought up again if he committed another offense.
It was an interesting experience. The procedure was really focused on the boy — keeping him out of trouble and encouraging him to make money in an honest way. I am convinced that this way of thinking brings more harmony into society, and that it is the basis of Jesus’ message.
For the diehards who have read this far I have a beautiful song: Window in the Skies from U2 (the video clip is another nice story). Hate brought to its knees. That’s what happened at Easter:
Rather than making total war on humanity because we crucified Jesus, God-in-Christ faithfully persists in making peace with humanity — not despite the cross, but indeed “through the cross”, by putting war-begetting hostility to death in himself at the cost of his own life, at the price of his own blood being shed.
… through Jesus’ living, dying and rising God has surpassed the law of cause-and-effect and thereby created new possibilities for humanity and history.
- Darrin W. Snyder Belousek, 2011. Atonement, Justice and Peace