New Year's Day Bombing

The news today was of a suicide bombing at a Coptic church as worshipers were leaving a midnight mass. It's an horrendous way to ring in the new year. President Obama has denounced the bombing. The Pope chimed in, reminding us that today is supposed to be a World Day of Peace. He called for violence to end against Christians.

The bombing is terrible. 21 died because of hate. Such evens should be spoken out against. And I don't mean to diminish those deaths, but Christians did not show themselves to be any better than the bomber. Immediately, they started retaliating:

In the wake of the New Year's bombing, they [the Egyptian Christians] unleashed their rage at authorities.

"Now it's between Christians and the government, not between Muslims and Christians,'' shrieked one Christian woman as several hundred young men clashed with helmeted riot police in the street outside the targeted church hours after the blast. As the rioters threw stones and bottles, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them. Some of the protesters beat Muslim passers-by. (from the AP article as linked above)

Violence against Christians is expected (not condoned, of course, but Christ did warn us that we would be persecuted). Violence from Christians is inexcusable. We are called to be peacemakers, to turn the other cheek, to love our enemy. Violence against us will never end if we keep paying "an eye for an eye."

Lest we point fingers at typical violence in the Middle East, let us ask ourselves how we would respond. Would we want vengeance or would we offer forgiveness. Consider how much violence Christians have caused throughout history--often in the name of Jesus.

May today not just be a day of world peace, but a day we offer prayer for peace in all the years to come. In this new year, may we keep one resolution: to be Jesus' disciple, to love God and love others.


Carol said...

I think it is difficult to really comprehend what it would be like to live under these kinds of real threats, this kind of menace, destruction. I think you go to a whole 'nother level when you take a direct hit of violence, most people don't know what it would be like, they haven't been tested, they haven't had devastating violent loss and the threat of it, consantly looming, etc. I am not sure how I would react if some of my loved ones were killed in such a vicious manner...I know what we are supposed to do, eventually, forgive, be peacemakers, etc. but can you immediately in the aftermath of such things? I think these kinds of pressures, most of us haven't lived through..it's like asking a solider not to react in battle..under the most extreme circumstances of threat and danger...I just don't know what that would be like...It is gravely sad, it is so typical of fallen nature..that is why only the Spirit of God (Yahweh) can empower man to transcend such depravity, but what tenacious clinging one would have to do to Him, to transcend the fallout of such actions.

Rev. Dave said...

Carol, you're right that we can't know how to respond in those circumstances. Responding in love could only happen with "tenacious clinging." I like that thought.

That doesn't matter where we live. Here, we often respond to the avarice around us by buying into it rather than being more generous. It's the old sponge analogy: what we take in is what comes out when we're squeezed.

No matter where we live and what our circumstances are, we are to follow the Rabbi so closely that we reflect His very nature.