13 June 2016

IN response to the Orlando, USA, nightclub shooting that claimed 50 lives and left 53 people injured, General André Cox has recorded a video message in which he calls on Salvationists and friends from around the world to 'demonstrate God's mercy in a practical and tangible way'. He offers prayers for everyone affected by the tragedy, and for 'President Obama and government officials who need to provide leadership in these days'.

Picking up on the Orlando Area Commander's report that disaster team members had asked how they could help their 'neighbours', the General makes the link with Jesus giving special emphasis to the command 'Love your neighbour' – even when that neighbour has different beliefs or comes from another culture.

Speaking to an international audience of Salvationists and friends, the General lays down a strong challenge: 'Let us as The Salvation Army rise up and be mobilised, showing God's love to those who may not expect to be loved by us. Let’s transcend the man-made barriers that seek to divide us from our "neighbour". And let's do it today, with God's help.'

The video is available on the International Headquarters Facebook page and on the General's website, salvationarmy.org/thegeneral

Report by IHQ Communications
International Headquarters

Transcript

My fellow Salvationists and friends, 

Commissioner Silvia and I were shocked and saddened to learn of the terrible attack on an Orlando nightclub at the weekend. Only a matter of months ago we were in that vibrant city, and our prayers go out to all involved – to the friends and families of the people who were killed; to those still recovering from injuries; to the emergency services; and to people who are providing practical support – including our own Salvation Army teams. God bless you all.  We pray as well for President Obama and government officials who need to provide leadership in these days.

For our part, The Salvation Army responded quickly, assisting the emergency services. Major Ted Morris, the Orlando Area Commander, says that as soon as the news of the shooting broke, disaster team members contacted him to ask how they could help their neighbours.

‘Neighbours’ is the important word there. The fifty people who were killed in the nightclub and the hundreds more who were injured or traumatised are our neighbours. Perhaps they don’t have the same beliefs as us. Maybe they are part of a culture that is different to ours. But Jesus was very clear when he described ‘love your neighbour’ as one of the two greatest commandments that – while our neighbours may be different to us – we must love them anyway.

The parable of the Good Samaritan could have been told with our world’s modern-day cultural and religious differences in sharp focus. It’s not the darkness of violence that triumphs. Neither is it the shunning behaviour of the ‘religious people’. Mercy and love shine through in the most unexpected way. Jesus said, ‘Go and do likewise.’

I encourage you to respond quickly and decisively to demonstrate God’s mercy in a practical and tangible way. Let us as The Salvation Army rise up and be mobilised, showing God’s love to those who may not expect to be loved by us. Let’s transcend the man-made barriers that seek to divide us from our ‘neighbour’. And let’s do it today, with God’s help.

May each of you seek to be a channel of God's peace, drawing inspiration from the Prince of Peace, whose life, death and resurrection demonstrate that love will conquer hate, intolerance and violence. 

God bless you all as you share his love today. 

Tags: Americas and Caribbean, The General