We are appalled, and confronted, by the awful acts of violence in Sri Lanka, on Easter Sunday. Most of us are not directly engaged, though many of us have friends and family who are. We grieve with them, are with them in their numbness and confusion, and share some portion of their anger.
It may well appear that, for many in our world, we measure out our lives in tragedy. People were worshipping in Sri Lanka, as they were in Christchurch, as people have been so many times before across the world. In worship, on holidays, at school, or pursuing the daily rounds of their lives.
Violence punctuates our community and those across our world, and some of these acts are too large to find any measure.
One immediate miscarriage of these atrocities is to speak of those who committed them as if they were faithful disciples of Christianity, or Islam, or any other faith. There is no sanctuary either, in the claim of some bastardised sense of human injustice.
Our first act, in this week when disciples of Jesus Christ speak of resurrection, of new life, is to weep with those who weep. We will love our neighbours, as is our calling.
When our tears have slowed, we need to articulate our faith, that we will not allow death and violence to be the dominant words in our vocabulary, in our lives. We refuse to let terror speak for us; we are people of the cross and resurrection, and to proclaim the crucified, risen Christ is to declare that we will live our lives with hope, and love, and justice.
And at some point, when we are able, we will speak of forgiveness. We may then speak of loving our enemies, as we are called to.
We declare that God’s love is stronger than death. We will worship, and take holidays, and go to school, and pursue our daily lives asserting that our hope and life is found in Jesus, living out the reign of God with every measure of our lives.
Rev. Simon Hansford is the Moderator of the UCA Synod of NSW and the ACT.
This piece first appeared on Simon’s blog Through A Stained Fence.
Image: St Sebastian’s Church-Waga Sri Lanka (ABC)-file image