Saturday, January 10, 2015

Some Thoughts on the Paris Attacks

Dear Friends,

I want to share with you some thoughts about the recent attacks in Paris. First, let me assure you that we are safe. Nevertheless, we grieve with all of France over the violence and the loss of life. We are perplexed, but not in despair. Our hope and our anchor is in the One who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

We know that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the prinicipalities of darkness. As one of our teammates keenly observed, "What happened [in Paris] was just a quick peek behind the spiritual veil. There's a war going on. And it's not East vs. West, or Religion vs. Secularism, or Islam vs. Christianity. It's Light vs. Darkness." The current tragedy may be over, but the battle has been going on for years, and it continues today. Many of the French, like all those who do not know Jesus, are helpless and harrassed, like sheep without a shepherd, and the enemy wants to pick them off by fear, doubt, isolation, violence, hatred, division, and anger. Let the events of the past week drive us to our knees in prayer for this beautiful country.

Just last month, in Lyon, I heard Jeff Fountain talk about how to read the times and how to understand and respond to current events in light of the Gospel. He explained that often we (the Body of Christ) allow secular interpretations to define our understanding of world crises, and we miss the opportunity to speak truth into situations such as these. One of my collegues shared a story about a church in Athens that had been vandalized by Islamic terrorists. A giant rock had been thrown through the window and landed on their altar. As church leaders gathered to decide how they would respond, they realized that the could see the rock as a threat...or they could accept it as an invitation to engage their muslim neighbors with the love and grace of Jesus. They decided to view the rock as an invitation, and rather than responding with fear or anger, the church intentionally sought ways to bless their attackers and sow seeds of peace. And love won the day.

So as we the Church universal consider our response to these attacks, I hope that we, too, can welcome the invitation to spread the Good News of Jesus. Apart from him, there is no peace.

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