The past two weeks have been terrible testaments not only to the violence in our world, but also (consciously or unconsciously) to the way that we prioritize life: how do we decide who is important and who is not.
My Facebook feed “blew up” with reports of the horrible bombings in Brussels in which 31people lost their lives and hundreds of others were injured. Yet it was only because I have a BBC newsfeed that I learned of the March 13th attack in Ivory Coast that left 22 dead or the two attacks in Turkey less than a week apart taking 41 lives between them. Where is the outpouring of prayer and sympathy for those victims?
Perhaps this is our problem: Our outrage is only stirred when “our people” are affected.
As we approach Good Friday, I wonder about the ways I am blind to the suffering of others. I am asking myself to evaluate the ways in which I prioritize those who matter. I suspect that much of what went on in Jesus’ trial was about the religious leaders making those kinds of choices and the result was the crucifixion of an innocent human being.
I suspect that we Christians face many of these Good Friday moments in our lives, times when we think we have to choose who matters most. But in John’s gospel, Jesus says that he is “lifted up” (crucified) to draw all people to himself. And until we can see the worth of all people, we will know the pain of terror and violence. Perhaps the ending of terrorism has to do with our world finding compassion for All People who are affected. Maybe when we can see ourselves in the eyes of all who suffer, our prayers and our actions will begin to make a difference. When we can truly “seek and serve Christ in all people," we will make the witness we are called to make.
"Let every voice be raised, from every faith and tradition: good God of mercy, hold back the hand of terror, protect the innocent, drive back the evil that surrounds us, that we may live at peace once more. Comfort those who suffer. Give rest to their souls and strength to their families. Help justice to be done. From every voice and every faith, great God of mercy, receive our prayer." (The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston)