Bishop Park on terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka

. 2 min read
April 25, 2019

“… he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known
on this day what would bring you peace…’” (Luke 19:41-42)

Dear Fellow Pilgrims on the Way,

Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our
Brokenness, and Hope of the World!

A few days ago, on the island of Sri Lanka, we witnessed the horrendous
devastation from the most recent terrorist attacks in the three cities of
Colombo, Ngombo, and Batticaloa. Over three hundred and fifty people were
killed and several hundreds more were injured from these attacks. These
evil acts of terror must be condemned in the name of humanity. The
unspeakable horror that happened to our sisters and brothers in Sri Lanka
breaks our hearts and troubles our souls. Our prayers are with the families
and loved ones of the innocent victims.

What made these attacks seem even more grievous was their locations and
time. It was Easter morning and many of our sisters and brothers in Sri
Lanka had gathered in churches for the annual celebration of the Festival
of the Resurrection. It was only some weeks ago that minority Muslims who
had gathered to worship in New Zealand were attacked and this time minority
Christians in Sri Lanka. It is so tragic that these acts of despicable
violence have risen to the level where innocent people who are gathered to
worship God become the target of violence from hatred. Both heinous crimes
of terror were committed in the name of faith by followers with a totally
perverted understanding of God. God does not condone such violence. God
seeks peace, justice, and freedom for all. As people of faith, we must
remain united in our biblical conviction that all people are children of
God. There can’t be “us against them”. It must only be “we and us”. People
who yearn to worship God in their own traditions and ways must be honored
and allowed to do so without fear of retaliation.

The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church
summons all United Methodists to join with the United Nations in their
April 3 resolution that calls for all nations to promote freedom of
religion and to foster tolerance, peace, and respect. Their call resonates
in our belief that we are all members of one household of God loved by the
same Creator. Mahatma Gandhi said, “I believe in absolute oneness of God
and therefore also of humanity.” Desmond Tutu said, “The God who existed
before any religion counts on you to make the oneness of human family known
and celebrated.”

Paul says that Jesus who gave his life for us is our peace and that he has
made the two one by destroying the barrier, the dividing wall of
hostility.  (Ephesians 2:14) God raised this Jesus our Savior
from the dead to be the Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness and Hope
of the World. Our determination of and commitment to rejecting violence and
building bridges to peace must never be weakened, but only get stronger for
such a time as this.

Grace and Peace,
Jeremiah Park