July 1, 2016
July 1, 2016
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Once again, we heard and saw accounts of the horror of terrorism. This time the target was the innocent at one of the busiest airports in the world during a particularly busy time to cause maximum casualties. Our prayers are with the families and the loved ones of those who died and were injured as our hearts are broken for them.
The most recent terrorist attack became more real for many United Methodists. Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, was waiting in the lounge for his flight at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport when the terrorists' bombs exploded. He hid in a back room near the lounge kitchen for forty minutes before it was safe to come out. United Methodist News Service (UMNS) reports what Kemper wrote soon after the attack: "Terror coming so close lets me give thanks for my life, my family and calls us to fight hate and terror everywhere. And it leads us into deeper solidarity with all who experience terror and violence not just once but every day and every night." UMNS also reports what Kemper said during a live CNN interview: "We need to set examples that humankind can stand together. We need to build bridges."
Acts of terrorism are evil's instrument to create fear within us and to divide us. As people of faith and followers of Jesus Christ, we are reminded of the Word: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21) We can't allow fear and division to be the final word. "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives our fear." (1John 4:18a) God's love compels us to refuse to be prisoners of fear.
As God's people, we are more determined than ever to defeat evil with what is good. Our commitment to build bridges to conquer divisions needs to be stronger than ever. I ask God's people of the Susquehanna Conference family to be in prayer for the people of Istanbul and for the people who live constantly in fear of terrorism with uncertainty of what any day might bring them in so many places around the world. We can hardly imagine living with such fear and uncertainty daily. In solidarity with all God's children who are to be peacemakers, we need to build bridges of reconciliation with love by all the means we can, in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, at all times we can, to all the people we can, and as long as ever we can.
May it be so of all of us in our witness in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, Healer of our brokenness, and Hope of the world.
With You in Christ's Ministry,
Jeremiah J. Park
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