Glasgow Terror Attack Broadcast

terminal-456629There have been two things recently which have very strongly reminded me of the service which was broadcast on Radio 4 from St Mary's on 1 July 2008.

Firstly, one of those responsible has just been found guilty in an English court. Reading the reports of the court case has been unnerving. It is hard to understand that a doctor was planning terror. Even more disturbingly, he has been very articulate whilst giving his account of what he did.

The second thing which reminded me of the broadcast was the news of the inquest into the death of the young man shot dead by police at Stockwell tube station.

Just before that broadcast service, the door opened and someone came in whom I genuinely thought might be there to do us harm. Someone I did not recognise who was bearing a large odd looking rucsack. Knowing that the clock was ticking until we went live to the nation, I remember walking up to the back of the church to question the unknown face. He turned out to be well known to someone involved in the broadcast and the backpack contained nothing more dangerous than a bass clarinet. Notwithstanding all the mistakes that the police appear to have made in the Stockwell tube tragedy, this incident in Glasgow gave me the tiniest glimpse of what it is like to look at someone and wonder whether they have the capacity to do very great harm to a great many people. It has given me pause for thought as I think about what was going through the minds of the police officers involved at the time.

Anyway, here is a reprise of part of the service that was broadcast. I've never rewritten a sermon so many times as that one and what went out was something that I think we all felt very good about. After the words, there is the choir singing the definitive version of Jesus Christ is Waiting, Waiting in the Streets.

The sight of them singing that is fixed in my mind forever. Every face focused, every eye on Frikki's beat. There is anger and dancing in that recording, as much in the music as in what I was saying.