Salaam alaikum, if nothing else this week. I had hoped my letter would be a shout-out from the NEXT Church Conference, where John, Jess and I were immersed in an exciting last few days. Instead, we all woke up to the tragic news of the terrorism this morning in New Zealand – to hell breaking loose in a place called Christchurch, of all things.
Our prayers go up in memory of those who lost their lives, for comfort for those who were injured and those who are struggling with shock, anger, grief and trauma, and for our Muslim siblings in the human family everywhere. We also pray for those who are perpetrators of hate, violence and terrorism, that hearts might be changed. This kind of hatred has nothing to do with any kind of virtue related to any true religion, much less what Christ wanted for the church or the world.
We join our hearts and voices with those around the world who are working for peace today and every day. As I find myself far from Western Church, I give thanks for the witness shared by those who posted messages of peace for members of the Muslim community in Foggy Bottom who worship in our multi-purpose room. You who are around and inside the beltway today will be more aware of local opportunities to join in solidarity; I encourage you to connect.
Come to worship this Sunday, when we will join together as members of Christ’s church, lifting up Christchurch, New Zealand, seeking hope in the midst of horror and working for a world where this violence will end.
Grace and peace,