A Gloom Over the City of Light
On August 8, 2014, Cyndi and I boarded the Eurostar train for a high-speed trip through the Chunnel to Gare du Nord for the beginning of our Silver Wedding Anniversary adventure in Paris. We walked for miles and miles through (and past) countless museums, beautiful parks and hundreds of café bistros filled with lovers, friends and merry-makers. So last week’s news of the brutal, animalistic attacks in Paris struck even closer to home as I recalled our very-recent stay in that beautiful city.
The newspapers have been full of reports and commentaries on these barbaric assaults. One in particular caught my eye. A letter to the editor from a Gig Harbor woman chastised those who used the term “Islamic Terrorist,” arguing that this tarnished a great world religion and was the equivalent of calling KKK lynch mobs “Christian Terrorists.”
It’s a fair analogy. Most members of the KKK claimed to be followers of Christ and were faithful church-goers. Yet they carried out barbarous acts against fellow Christians who happened to be black. But ultimately, this provoked outrage from the majority of the Christian world. Granted, it was too late for the thousands that were brutalized and the millions that were terrorized, but Christendom finally rose up and said, “You cannot claim the name of Jesus—he who never raised a hand against another… he who taught us to love and forgive our enemies… he who submitted to the way of the Cross—you cannot claim to be His follower and yet treat his children, your fellow man, your fellow Christians… sadistically. No, you cannot possibly be Christians and behave as anti-christs. We repudiate you and your Christian claims.”
For years I have longed for a concerted and united similar outcry from the Islamic community, the followers of a religion whose name means “peace.” I have waited for a growing voice in the Muslim world that condemns and shames and calls for the punishment of those who fly the banner of Islam but whose behavior is radically un-“peace”ful.
Well, these atrocities in Paris seem to have stirred the beginnings of such a Muslim outcry. [Link} Thousand have signed on to a growing movement labeled hashtag “Not in my name.” It is an encouraging start… but I pray that this swell of outrage will go viral.
Meanwhile, we who follow Jesus will struggle to obey his hard teaching. We will try to love our enemies, including ISIS. We will pray for them. We will try to remember that God loves them and sent his Son to die for them, too. We will struggle with what it means to love our (refugee) neighbor as Jesus commanded us to… while protecting and preserving the liberties that make us the nation into whose arms the Isis-persecuted long to flee. We will ask His Holy Spirit to keep us from becoming mean and bitter and cynical, even as every fiber within us cries out for vengeance and justice. That is what Christians—real Christians—do.
P.S. Did you know that next Saturday, November 28, we will celebrate exactly 50 years since our Memorial Chapel was dedicated to the service of the Lord? And now, 50 years later, we are back there again, worshiping in that beautiful space every Saturday night at 6:30. Please consider joining us for a service of thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness next Saturday night.