You’ll never walk alone

Today, my mind goes back to those fateful events 37 years ago when 56 people tragically lost their lives in the Bradford City fire disaster, one of them a classmate of mine.  The effect of the fire  was devastating and far reaching. As well as the 54 Bradford City fans and two from Lincoln who lost their lives that day, many more experienced severe burn injuries and then there are the psychological scars carried by those present in the ground and the many friends and family who were bereaved so suddenly and unexpectedly.

In the aftermath of the fire, a disaster appeal was set up and to help raise funds, a charity version of the Gerry and the Pacemakers’ classic “You’ll never walk alone was released.” This means that a song traditionally associated with the Kop at Liverpool has also become firmly part of Bradford City’s culture too. 

The Crowd: You’ll Never Walk alone

The lyrics of the song are all about facing storms and trial but being able to do so with hope.  The message is that you don’t have to face these things alone and speak of togetherness and companionship.

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Whilst there’s great encouragement in the words, the reality is that facing disaster and death is frightening and crushing even with the support of friends around us.  But there is a better hope.

Isaiah 43:1b-3a says:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,

These words were given for the people of Israel for when they were in exile in Babylon. The promise was that God would rescue them from exile and bring them safely home. Though they might have to face trials, the equivalent of walking through the storm is seen in fire and flood here, they would come through safely.  Why? Well because they would not walk that journey alone.  It wasn’t simply that they’d have human comradeship, but that God would walk with them and ahead of them.

The prophecy is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the one who has gone ahead of us through fire and flood, through death and resurrection at calvary.  The promise is to us, that we need not walk alone because Jesus is with us and has promised never to fail us or desert us.  This means that if your hope is in him then you do not need to fear trial or testing, not even death itself because you are safe with him. It does not mean that you won’t go through trial and suffering but it means he has promised to take us safely through to the otherside.

Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart

And you’ll never walk alone.

You’ll Never Walk Alone Bradford City v Liverpool benefit match for Stephen Darby a
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