Fearfully and wonderfully made - Reflection on youth violence by Dean Sue
Hear from Dean Sue about the impact of youth violence, the knife angel, and our upcoming remembrance service.
‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made’
So says the Psalmist:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139)
We are precious to God and we are precious to each other. No two human beings are alike. We have been created by God and we are precious. At least that’s what I believe and it is what the Psalmist sings.
Then I experience two adults having an aggressive argument in the Cathedral car park and then I look at the wider world and see so much violence and hurt caused by one human being to another and I question whether people see the world in the same way as I do.
Do they see others as precious, to be valued and loved for who they are?
The Liverpool Echo in May reported the following:
- More than 50,000 attacks were reported to Merseyside Police over the course of last year, official statistics reveal.
- Government data shows there was an incident of "violence against the person" roughly every 10 minutes in the region.
Knife crime is one of the key acts of violence and it is now three years since the Cathedral hosted the Knife Angel. The Knife Angel was created by the artist Alfie Bradley as a national monument against violence and aggression. The sculpture stands 27ft high and is a memorial to those whose lives have been affected by knife crime. Alfie designed and created the artwork single-handedly using 100,000 knives that were surrendered and collected during nationwide amnesties in 2015/2016 and Liverpool Cathedral was the first place to host the sculpture.
Former chorister and lay clerk Rob Jackson was instrumental in bringing in the Knife Angel to Liverpool Cathedral. In his role as a nurse clinician, he has spoken to 95,000 young people across the area about the realities of being involved with knife crime.
In 2018 Rob Jackson said:
“We’re hoping that by bringing the Knife Angel to Liverpool Cathedral it opens the debate about knife crime and its impact. It’s not about scaring people but it is about getting them to start talking about its effect on real people. I witness the effects in my job on a regular basis. The statue is about prevention of knife crime, so people understand how carrying a knife and the reality of knife crime will not only affect other people but them personally.”
Rob’s message and the Cathedral’s message is the same today as it was back in 2018. That message is that violence is not the answer to disagreements. Violence of any kind hurts other people and also hurts the perpetrator. No one comes out of a violent act unscathed. So please remember the word of the Psalmists and the vision of the Knife Angel sculpture when you are tempted to hurt or injure another person. This Saturday the Cathedral is hosting ‘An Evening of Remembrance.’ The aim of the event is to bring together the family and friends of those who have been killed as a result of violent crimes such as knife and gun crime. The event is being organised by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team, in partnership with the Cathedral and Danny’s Place. Please do come to the Cathedral and spend some time thinking about peace and not violence and please remember the words of the Psalmist:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; (Psalm 139)
Knife Angel, created by Alfie Bradley visited Liverpool Cathedral in 2018. Photograph of Knife Angel in this blog post taken by Gareth Jones.