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From Bishop Park on the Istanbul Airport attack

. 2 min read
July 1, 2016
 “Blessed are
the peacemakers, for they
will be called children of
God.”

(Matthew 5:9)
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