November 19, 2015 | by: Renette de Beer | 1 comments
At our church’s congregational meeting on November 15, we took a moment at the beginning of the meeting to read Psalm 10 and pray for the peace of Christ to reign on earth, remembering the horrific events of this past week. The November 13th attacks and bombings in Paris, France weighed heavily on our hearts of many Canadians, as well as the bombings in Beiruit, Lebanon on the 12th, and Baghdad, Iraq on the 13th. The truth of the matter is, while an attack like that which occurred in Paris on Friday shocked and horrified us, attacks of this magnitude have happened every month this year:
The first week of January, an estimated 2000 people were killed in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram in a systematic massacre of northern villagers.
The first week of February, nearly a hundred people were killed and over 500 injured in a Boko Haram attack in Fotokol, Cameroon.
On March 20, 137 people were killed and 345 injured in a series of coordinated suicide bombings by ISIS in Sana’a, Yemen.
The first day of April saw Al-Shabaab attack a university in Garissa, Kenya, systematically separating Muslims from Christians before executing 147 people.
On May 13, in Karachi, Pakistan, a bus full of Shia Muslims was attacked by gunmen on motorcycles. 45 people were killed.
On June 25, ISIS used three car bombs to kill 146 people in Kobani, Syria.
On July 17, at least 100 people were killed by an ISIS car bomb in Khan Bani Saad in Iraq.
On August 7, a Taliban truck bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan leveled a city block, leaving at least 50 people dead and 500 wounded.
On September 20, at least 145 people were killed by Boko Haram suicide bombers in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
The last day of October saw the bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268 in Sinai, Egypt, in which ISIS claimed another 244 lives.
The year is not even over, and already we have seen almost three hundred terrorist attacks since January, with thousands of lives destroyed, and hundreds of thousands devastated by the horrors of violence, injury, kidnapping, and loss.
The season of advent has traditionally been a time for the Christian church to mourn and lament the reality of suffering in this world, to confess the ways that we contribute to systems of injustice, and prepare our lives for the return of Christ and the coming of his kingdom on the earth. In the face of suffering and death, we pray "Come quickly, Lord Jesus."
1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts of the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5 His ways are always prosperous;
he is haughty and your laws are far from him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me;
I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.”
7 His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
8 He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent,
watching in secret for his victims.
9 He lies in wait like a lion in cover;
he lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God has forgotten;
he covers his face and never sees.”
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief;
you consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man;
call him to account for his wickedness
that would not be found out.
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
17 You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
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