Monday, 17 January 2022

Jesus offers hope

MH370, the Malaysian aeroplane is lost and 239 are blown up. Russia mourns the 224 killed

MH370, the Malaysian aeroplane is lost and 239 are blown up. Russia mourns the 224 killed after an explosion on an A321 aeroplane. In the last few days Paris has seen 129 left dead. We hardly notice that 22 were killed in a suicide attack in Iraq in the last few days.

 Such tragedies affect not just the families of those caught up in such horrible acts of violence, but all of us as onlookers.

We are painfully aware, as Mac Duff says in Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

“Each new morn New widows howl, new orphans, new sorrows Strike heaven in the face’.

The wife of a passenger on the Malaysian aeroplane that went missing said: “I have to believe he is still alive. The alternative is he is strapped to his seat at the bottom of the ocean”. She seemed to imply she could not go there.

We need to pause to see the meaning of Good Friday. The meaning of the Cross shows the Lord Jesus Christ died for us. It is here, at the Cross, that Jesus was  crucified.

This is not just a place of death, but where sin is revealed in all its ugliness: hatred, violence, spite, cowardice. The Lord Jesus did this for us in all of this mess.

We have trivialized wrongdoing and its consequences, but the Cross shows its seriousness standing as it does over the wrecks of history-and also offers hope for God has, in Jesus Christ, not only shared in our sufferings but conquered death and offers hope in the face of the worst tragedy and the most  abominable evil.  

With this hope undergirding us, let us (as Rick Warren, the USA church leader, said after the Charleston, South Carolina, shooting) commit ourselves to doing the opposite of  what the gunman did then (and all perpetrators of terrorism since), suggesting our focus and prayer should be:

Help us to be uniters where there is division.

Help us to protect all life in a culture of violence and death.

When faced with evil, give us strength to respond by doing good, and to show love in the face of hatred.

Help us to be bridge builders when others want to erect walls, and to be peacemakers when others create conflict.

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