It was 8 o’clock on Monday morning.Â I was standing by Southampton Central station.Â And I saw a new Southampton coming down fromÂ the heavens.
From Totton, up to Nursling and across Chandlers Ford and Eastleigh to West End and Bursledon. All over Weston, up to Woolston and Harefield, Thornhill and Townhill Park. To Bitterne Park and St Denys, Portswood and Highfield. From Swaythling across to Shirley and Basset, Shirley Warren and Regents Park, Lordshill. Maybush, Millbrook and Redbridge â€“ everything new!
I saw a teenager leaping out of bed with joy, excited for the day ahead. No fear of being bullied or concerns about their future.
Older people free to walk to the local shop to get their newspaper with no fear of intimidating gangs
I saw a street party where the peopleÂ were eating and dancing because there was hope again.
And, in the clearness of the morning, I looked across the estates of the city and there was no more asthma.Â No more unwanted pregnancies,Â No more vulnerable girls trafficked for sexual exploitation,Â No more debt, no more violence,Â No more overcrowding
Â There were no more needles and condoms in the park.Â No more sorrow of family breakdown.Â No more poverty. No more need.Â No more unemployment or mind-numbing jobs.Â No more hopelessness.Â No more sadness and tears, only joy and laughter.Â No more discrimination.Â No more drunken clubbing. No threats, no fears.
The dividing walls were gone.Â Families and neighbours were restored.
There was no more rubbish, no dealers, no guns, no knives, no dangerous dogs.Â There were no racial tensions, just one harmonious mixÂ in technicolour.
Â And I looked and I saw kids playing football in the streets, and neighbours cheering them on.Â I saw homes without locks on the doors, where a welcome was always guaranteed.Â
I saw a playground with climbing frames that werenâ€™t rusty, where children threw themselves in the air without fear of harm, where the teenagers helped the little onesÂ up to the highest climbs.
Â I saw a football match in HoglandsÂ Park and the teams were from every people group: asylum seekersÂ And taxi drivers, policemen and ex-prisoners, pensioners and politicians, students and Somalians.Â People from every race and class playing andÂ laughing in the sun.
I saw a group of young people gathering around the band stand in Eastleigh. Worshipping God. Praying together, Organising who they were going to serve that day.
I saw a Southampton where neighbours shared favours and returned them without pressure or obligation.
I saw a Southampton where hearts were unbroken, partnerships are lasting, peaceful and happy.
I saw a Southampton where families eat and play together.
Â I saw a Southampton where tears were wiped away.
Â I saw heaven come to earth