Last week 129 people were killed in the Paris terror attacks. Last year, 32,658 people were killed around the world in terror attacks. The mind boggling scope of the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean is directly related to terror attacks, meaning attacks on civilians intended to create terror. Our faith as followers of Jesus has a direct bearing on how we respond to these events.
Wednesday, our Presiding Bishop, the Right Rev. Michael Curry, released a statement with the title, “Be Not Afraid.” I encourage you to read this short, powerful article. Bishop Curry acknowledges that fear is real at times like these, but our resurrection hope is stronger than fear. He reminds us that in Leviticus, God tells us to treat the foreigner with love. He goes even further to remind us that Jesus calls us not only to love our neighbor, but to love our enemies. As hard as this is to contemplate at a time like this, it is the way of Jesus.
At our diocesan convention last weekend, we were asked to answer the question, “What does the Jesus Movement mean to you?” The answers were to be given in the form of a Twitter post, or a tweet, so they were limited to 140 characters. I wrote (and tweeted), “The #JesusMovement is the crazy idea that Love Wins even in the midst of war, refugee crises, and repeated campus shootings #LoveWins.”
As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote,
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” (1)
Yours in Christ,
(1) From “Where Do We Go From Here?” as published in Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967), p. 62.