Responding to the New Zealand mosque attacks in the city of Christchuch
Small gestures drown the voices of hate
The 150 Psalms of David have been called the ‘prayer book of the people of God’.
They help to give us language to talk to God and are full of praise and adoration, plus real questions and lamentation. They give voice to our concerns.
Psalm 10 has helped me express my own reaction to the Christchurch acts of terror at Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Mosque on 15 March.
(And I was able to share this at our local mosque in Woking – Shah Jehan the oldest purpose built mosque in the country - for their Prayer & Peace Vigil on 23 March.)
And it starts with the big question: WHY?
Why did this happen…
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
It graphically describes a godless perpetrator of violence, who:
Sits in ambush in the village in hiding places, he murders the innocent; he lurks in ambush like a Lion in a thicket
And it uses equally graphic and realistic, very human language:
Arise O Lord… Break the arms of the wicked and evil doer, Call his wickedness to account till you find none
And the last two verses sum up our thoughts and prayers for those in New Zealand:
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted,
you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed
So that the man who is of the earth may strike terror no more
We stand together as people of faith (and none) and echo:
The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern (who has displayed outstanding leadership) We cannot know your grief but we can walk with you at every stage
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan who affirmed that ‘terrorism has no religion’
Archbishop Justin at Central mosque London: For British Muslims who are feeling under threat, we are with you. Hatred of Muslims denies and blasphemes Christ. Those who co-opt Christian language and history for hatred commit blasphemy.
The terrorist wanted to instil fear This is a time to demonstrate LOVE through action:
Like an ordinary Christian, Andrew, standing outside Levenshulme Mosque in Manchester with a placard: ‘You are my friends. I will keep watch, while you pray’
Like Christians handing out flowers in Birmingham mosque at Friday prayers… these are small signs. Tokens. But they help to drown voices of hate
Ultimately, with God’s help, LIGHT will always prove stronger than darkness and LOVE will prevail, despite the cruelty and brutality present in the world.