Remembering those who died or are missing
(since the Bali bombing)
The events of October 12th have left us all, I think, a little shocked and confused. Those terrible outbursts of violence and mayhem that we associate with persons in countries many, many miles away are all of a sudden very close and very real for us. Terrorism is no longer somebody else’s problem. It is now our problem too. We now have been swept up in this tragedy of violence that is engulfing so much of our world.
And if we had any innocence left we have lost it. We now know that we are not immune. We are members of ‘the lucky country’, that is true, but we are also part of a global community that is seriously struggling at the moment to contain the hurt and aggression that is the result of conflicting ideologies and so many injustices.
We know that innocent people have died – our people this time, and our young people what is more. We fear that more innocent people will die, and we fear that we, or people we love, may be amongst them.
As a human being these realities leave me feeling anguished and fragile. As an Australian citizen these realities also make me angry and indignant, and leave me desiring recompense.
Any yet I am not simply a human being and not simply and Australian citizen. I am also a person of faith, and as such I know that I must rise above my basic human passions and any desire for vengeance, and must commit myself to whatever course of action is best for my country and for humanity itself. I, like you, am outraged and left defiant by this terrorist attack but, as a person of faith, I must also defy the temptation to give in to the hatred of my enemies, and must remember that vengeance is the prerogative of God alone.
Faith is fundamentally the belief that in the end justice will come.
The Christian faith is basically a view of human history – a conviction about where we are heading – and I do believe that in the end justice is going to triumph.
In the Bible it says that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”(Hebrews 11:1) I hold out hope for those who are still suffering through this terrible tragedy, and I am certain that one day all things will come together for good, that there will be healing and new life, justice and peace.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
Brothers, sisters, friends, keep the faith. Resist the temptation to give in to despair or to anger. Grieve for those we have lost, but do not grieve without hope. Instead commit yourself to the future with confidence in a God who cares for you and who does ultimately control where this world is heading. For in the end there will be justice. In the end this world will become the beloved community. In the end His Kingdom comes.
Petersham Town Hall, October 24th, 2002.