People across the world are sharing grief and expressions of love for the 50 people killed and another 50 wounded in the horrific shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Once again people gathered to worship God (Christians in Charleston, Sikhs in Wisconsin, Jews in Pittsburgh) became the victims of hate and intentional violence on the part of a man committed to white nationalism/supremacy. Although this attack was not in the United States, people of faith in this country are called to share grief and love with the Muslim community in our country and throughout the world. For Christians in the US during this season of Lent, we need to confess the part that our nation has played in promoting Islamophobia over the last two decades in general and during the current administration in particular. It is not enough for any of us to say “I am not a racist” without also actively standing up in love for those who are regularly stereotyped as the “other who is not one of us.” Our shared faith in one God can empower us to meet and defeat hate with love. This kind of love means seeing the image of God in each other across any barriers that would otherwise separate us including race, religion, or national origin.
As an expression of grief, I invite you to Click Here to read an article about one victim of the Christchurch violence - a 3 year old boy named Mucaad. Each victim was a beloved child of God whose life was precious to God and to others.
As an expression of love, I invite you to Click Here to read an article about a recent service at a mosque in Northern Virginia where the larger community came together in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.
For any of us who are people of faith, the one thing we know for sure despite any theological differences is stated simply in the Bible by the author of I John, " Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (I John 4: 7-8).