You have probably read it too. Two Sundays ago, at a church (All Saints Church), a church potluck to be precise, in Peshawar, Pakistan, 78 people were killed in a celebration that immediately followed the Sunday worship service, in a park across the street from where the service was being held. According to eyewitnesses, two twin suicide bombers killed 78 Christ followers and injured hundreds more in a senseless act of hatred and prejudice against the Christian minority there. Officials say that the bombs struck the church just as the benediction was being said, and just as people were meandering out the back door, shaking the pastor's hand, and heading to the potluck.
Obviously it goes without saying that such a bombing is completely evil and goes beyond all bounds of human decency, or even common sense. Such incredibly tragic news events of discrimination against Christians reminds us that there really are living martyrs in our midst, and that faith, following Jesus with our lives, is not something we should take lightly. People still pay high prices for believing in the things that we hold so dearly, but which we also sometimes hold so lightly. To say, "Jesus is my savior," or "Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life," or "Jesus is the Light of the World," may seem like simple sentences of declaration and faith for us, but they are also the kinds of things that can literally get you killed in certain parts of the world.
The question may be asked, why would I include a picture of my daughter Haley and I on a blogpost that is so depressingly full of violence and hatred. Well, the thought occurred to me that there were also fathers and daughters at the church potluck in Peshawar two weeks ago. There were also little girls who were dressed in their Sunday best, and dad's who were brimming with pride about their daughters and their lives. There was likely dancing and mirth leading up to the bombing, and there were pictures taken on cell phones (like the one that I have included here), that were about to go out to family members around the world to say, "Wow, look how beautiful our little girl is." In short, let us remember that these people who were killed in Peshawar were just like us. They were JUST like us. They weren't distant foreigners or people in a strange land...way over there. They were JUST like us.
So, what now? Well, let's start with prayer. Will everyone who reads this blogpost pray for All Saints Church in Peshawar Pakistan sometime today? That will at least be a couple of hundred people who's prayers get heard by God on this tragedy. The prayer doesn't have to be deep, or long or profound, but just a few words sent up to God in the midst of this tragedy. Also, send those words with the strong hope and the knowledge that we believe in a God who is so much bigger than these emblems of hatred, and that our Jesus really did die on the cross to make all things...even these things...NEW!
All For Now,