There is no doubt that recent events in Paris have shaken us to the core not least because we know now how easy it is to be caught up in such terror. We have all eaten out at restaurants, visited bars, attended concerts and sporting events. We have experienced that 'Friday feeling' when we relax and enjoy ourselves at the beginning of the weekend; how easily it could have been us.
Violence of such magnitude is abhorrent, inhuman; to slaughter innocent people is an atrocity that the world quite rightly has condemned. 'But what can we do?' is a question never far from our lips. It is not possible to stop someone who, with no regard for their own life, decides to kill indiscriminately. The temptation is to live fearfully; to cease to live as we have always lived; to be suspicious of everyone. But then the haters have won.
Instead may we:
-Create and enable multifaceted community built on tolerance and understanding (the murderers in Paris do not represent Islam any more than Anders Breivik, the Norwegian killer, represents Christians)
-Never let hate get the upper hand: hope, strive, work and live courageously in love
-Value humanity: there is no such thing as collateral damage; every life is precious.
-Pray – prayer is so much more than hands together, eyes closed; in prayer we shift our focus from ourselves to others and begin to be the change we hope for.
Jesus said 'God so loved the world that he gave his only son'
The love of God is not just for some, it is for the world; not just for those who are like us but for all people. And Jesus did not just talk of love he showed love by giving up his life for his followers and his detractors; in fact for all. It is only through acts of love and hope and prayer that one day hatred will be conquered. In our own small way may we be part of the answer to the world's questions.