It has often been noted that the beauty and tranquillity of our inland waterways can disguise human distress and, dare I say it, acts of evil.
Such was the case in April when for the first time in living memory a Canal and River Trust worker was apparently murdered going about his lawful business. Former policeman, Clive Porter, was subjected to an unprovoked attack on the Grand Union towpath in Hertfordshire and died at the scene. His death shook us all and although many details are unknown, police investigations continue and a man has been charged in connection with the incident.
Evil comes in many disguises, but when revealed in its true colours it is repugnant and destructive to all concerned. The good news is that Jesus Christ ultimately defeated evil and has the power to transform something horrible into something of eternal value. We see this in his resurrection following a tortured death on the cross and that is the very centre of our faith. We are people who can embody hope, even in the darkest of situations.
As they walk the towpaths of Hertfordshire and minister to Clive’s family, CRT staff, boaters and canal users, please pray that our Waterways Chaplains are empowered to share the hope and love of Christ: a love and a hope that defeats evil.
Mark Chester, National Senior Waterways chaplain