The Muslim community around the world – the ummah – is in mourning for the tragic and heartbreaking violence that was shown in New Zealand last Friday.
As followers of Jesus, it is our duty to condemn all acts of violence. It is also our duty to condemn the white supremacist ideology that inspired it – an evil ideology which is wholly incompatible and at odds with the Christian faith.
We stand in love and solidarity with the Muslim community in New Zealand and around the world. We may not share the same faith with our Muslim brothers and sisters, but we do share the commonality of being humans created to bear the image of the living God, and beings who are loved by our Maker.
Hatred of the other is eating away at humanity. And we all – each one of us – have a role to play in challenging that hate.
These are the times to grow our souls. Each of us is called upon to embrace the conviction that despite the powers and principalities bent on commodifying all our human relationships, we have the power within us to create the world anew.Grace Lee Boggs
After a violent event like this has happened, we wonder: what is there to do? What makes sense to do in a world gone mad?
It is right to grieve for those affected by this violence – for the precious lives lost…each woman, man, or child made in the image of God. I believe God is mourning right beside us.
It is right to pray for those who are injured, for those traumatized, and those now grieving loved ones with broken hearts. We pray for them and all those caring for them in this time.
It is also right to acknowledge that those who call themselves by Jesus’ name – throughout history and today – have at times taken the lead in disparaging and attacking those of the Muslim faith and in perpetuating white supremacist ideology. So as we lament, we also open our hearts to the Lord and say, “Lord, whatever reconciling, cleansing work needs to be done to root out this evil and hatred and violence, begin with us.”
Begin here. Begin with me. Begin with us.
Begin with Life on the Vine.
Begin with your church.
This week, I encourage you to reach out to someone – perhaps a Muslim friend, a coworker, a neighbor, an acquaintance – just as we did this past Sunday with the cards we signed for the 3 Islamic centers in our area. (If nobody comes to mind, there are local mosques with Facebook pages and you can PM them). Write a note or a message to let them know you are thinking of them, that you see them, that you stand with them in the face of hatred, that you are there for them if they need anything.
These small acts can still be significant in times like these. Not only are they good for our own souls, but God is in the business of taking our small, seemingly insufficient actions…and working transformation through them with great love.
God of peace, we mourn the loss of precious lives last Friday. We grieve that 49 people made in your image were robbed of their safety and their very lives because of hatred. Have mercy on them, Lord, in your great love.
We pray for those caught up in the events in New Zealand, for those wounded and for those who now mourn. We pray for the people of the emergency and medical services as they continue to treat the injured, and for community leaders, faith leaders, and all residents of Christchurch as they work to heal this broken community.
And God of peace, in the face of the hatred that has sown this violence, we pray using the words from the Book of Common Prayer: