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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Matthew 5:9

Okay!  If the Biblical reference doesn't mean anything to you, permit me to quote that particular verse: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God".  It's from that passage commonly referred to as "The Sermon on the Mount" and, more specifically, "The Beatitudes", and is a direct quote from the lips of the Lord Jesus.

In Wishaw Baptist Church, as I mentioned less than a fortnight ago, we are working our way through a series of messages based on the Sermon.  However, it is not that that brought these words to mind this morning.  Rather, it is this morning's news that reported attacks - of different kinds, and different levels of seriousness - against the Muslim community in the UK, have risen from 4-6 per day, to hundreds, in the wake of the horrific death of Fusilier Lee Rigby, in Woolwich, London, on Wednesday.  Although the two Muslim men who are currently under armed guard in separate hospitals, being treated for gunshot wounds, have been filmed as they carried out their foul deed, are constantly being referred to as "suspects", there can be no doubt at all as to their guilt.  Indeed, they appear also to have willingly accepted responsibility for this cruel murder.

Reactions have been as diverse as they have been swift.  The majority Muslim population has stated that it is horrified, and disowned the two men.  Politicians and the security forces (including the Metropolitan Police) have assured us that as much was done as could be done in monitoring these men - and, no doubt, "lessons will be learned!  Newspapers have condemned the attackers, and the security forces who have been accused of having failed to monitor known Islamist radicals - and even of having tried to recruit one of them as some kind of informer. The Archbishop of Canterbury has sought to highlight the interfaith unity and harmony between the Christian and Muslim faiths. The British National Party, and the English Defence League, are calling for retribution, and for those who are appalled by Lee Rigby's murder to "start the fightback".  The family of the murdered man have paid warm tribute to him; as have his military colleagues.

As I commented in a response on a recent newspaper forum (on a totally different subject), I wish that had all of the answers to all of society's most pressing, and urgent, questions.  Sadly, I don't - at least not in terms that the majority would accept, or even understand.  One thing I do know, is that disciples of Jesus, of whom I count myself one,are called to be peacemakers.  That is an active word.  It means that I am called to actually do something in the pursuit of peace.  I am praying, of course, but I need to do something more.  I hope, therefore, to contact some Muslims friends, and assure them that I understand their own situation (well, I don't easily forget the atrocities perpetrated by the IRA, UVF, etc., and my own late father being shot at when on patrol with the RUC).  Is there any other action I might take?  I don't know - but I shall be thinking about that.

I am not alone in being happy to call myself a child of the living God.  This may well be a time for all of us to show it!

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