1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.
Today’s tragic news from Brussels, Belgium, probably caused most of us to either despair or get angry. We feel sorry for the innocent victims and their heartbroken families; we also feel disgust and outrage by those who committed such a despicable, wicked, and inhumane crime. It’s hard to accept that people would do this in the 21st century; it’s very difficult to accept that the culprits are expressing their loyalty to God through such horrific events. The sweetness of religion becomes rancid when it is mixed with hatred; the godly gift of faith becomes demonized when it is blended with fanaticism. God weeps, Christ weeps; Allah weeps, as do all the angels in heaven. There is no goodness in ungodliness; there is no holiness in horror.
When I read Paul’s words from today’s chosen verses, they struck me as being completely relevant about today’s tragic events. How we respond as Christians to terrorism actually reflects how devoted we are to Christ’s work on Earth. If we remain angry, then the devil wins. If we do nothing, then evil triumphs. Love is, and always has been, the key to overcoming this kind of incomprehensible violence. As Paul expresses it, so should we respond:
By being on our guard to protect people as best as we can;
By standing firm in our faith, to embrace all people as best as we can;
By being courageous in the face of terrorism and not succumbing to our fears;
By being strong together, knowing that most people on this planet seek to live in peace;
And by doing all that we can to show, share, and inspire love in our communities and across the world.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray for the heartbroken people of Belgium and those around the world who are personally affected, injured, and grieved by this terrible tragedy. Surround them with Your Love and enable us to support them in this hour of devastation and destruction. May Your Spirit move within all our faith and non-faith communities to seek the higher ground of respect, peace, and love. In Your Holy Name, we dearly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment, respond, or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.