I had a train of thought in my mind to write about as we approach Pentecost weekend. I was going to comment about how our ‘being full of the Spirit’ calls us outside the doors of the church world. That with the Holy Spirit’s help, the good news there is in Christ, should be making a difference in our neighbourhoods and work/ study places. I would have linked this with a couple of Bible verses.
Then the bombing happened yesterday in Kabul, Afghanistan… killing 80 and injuring 100s. Many families impacted.
Reported in the media though unlike with the Manchester bombings, there does not seem to be much being said by political leaders in outcry! (Not that I mean by that to take away from the tragedy of what happened last week in Manchester)
May be we become all too familiar with attacks in places like Afghanistan or Syria. Or for those of us living somewhere like Netherlands, a city like Kabul seems very remote and disconnected from our lives here.
Yet whether it is those mourning in Manchester or Kabul or those Coptic christian families attacked in Egypt last week, whether it is people caught up in the on-going tensions in Venezuela or the Philippines … these are real people, however quickly the media or political leaders may move on in their focus.
How to respond? Perhaps for some fear or despair can take a grip. For others, it is a rallying call to wipe out extremism and work for a more peaceful world.
As followers of Christ, how do we respond
- in prayer?
- in the way we speak about such situations?
- in our actions?
- in the way we treat those that are different or even that we disagree with?
What does a Holy Spirit led response look like to what we see in the news? What does such a response look like for colleagues, friends, family or neighbours going through a tough time? How can we be ambassadors of hope even when it seems there is none?
In Matthew 9:36, we can read of Jesus, “when he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them…” May we ask Him to give us such a heart for the world around us.
In Christ, our lives are secure – we do not need to fear troubled times or even death. I don’t write that glibly or to mean that troubles won’t impact us. But rather our lives are ultimately in Christ –
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35
There is hope for this world in Jesus Christ. Amid all the complexity and challenges that humanity faces – there is hope. Amid all the divisions and misunderstandings- there is hope. Amid the pain, anguish and grieving- there is hope.
What does such hope look like in a meaningful way?
This post may well generate more questions than answers. Yet I encourage us to grapple with such questions as we pray and think about how to respond to what we have seen in places like Manchester and Kabul.