Brussels – a response from Michaela Youngson on behalf of the District Chairs of the London Methodist District
It is with shock and deep sadness that we have again witnessed the murder of people going about their everyday lives. Londoners will watch the news of the explosions in Brussels and will remember the attacks on public transport in July 2005. The images and memories are vivid and remind us again of the vulnerability of life and the willingness of a handful of people to assert their own agenda through acts of terror and violence.
In the past few days lives have also been lost in Afghanistan, Pakistan and in many other places, often with little coverage on western media. Each life lost in an airport, market place, metro station or school is a cost too great. In the great complexity of the political realities that surround us it is tempting to lose sight of those individual lives and to feel helpless. Yet in all of the acts of cruelty that we witness, we see people putting their own lives at risk to help the injured and the vulnerable, we see people of different faiths standing in solidarity with each other, we see courage that we only hope we might demonstrate in the same circumstances.
As we consider the most unholy of actions in the midst of our Holy Week reflections, I pray that we will notice the acts of human decency and dignity in the midst of the carnage and chaos. When we consider again the cross of Jesus and his divine humanity, Ipray that we will not be blind to the common humanity we share with our neighbours.
Many of our Muslim brothers and sisters receive abuse, verbal and physical, when such events as have happened in Brussels take place and there is a great deal of pressure on the Islamic communities in the our city. Whilst we may feel helpless in the face of violence and events in Syria, we are able to be peacemakers in our own context. Consider ways in which you and your church can develop friendships with Muslim neighbours in your own community. Pray for their flourishing and the well-being of people of all faiths and none and reflect the sacrificial love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
A prayer by Tony Miles:
we pray for the injured, dying and grieving.
May they receive help, comfort and healing.
When terrorism is rife,
may we not give in to despair,
for ultimately only enduring love
can triumph over evil, sin and death.
May the Spirit of Jesus
enable faith, hope and love to rise up,
with justice and peace.
© Anthony D. Miles - March 2016