Commissioner Silvia and I were incredibly saddened to learn of yesterday's terrorist attack at a concert in Manchester. We know that Salvationists and friends will join us in praying for the families of all who were killed, as well as for physical healing for those who were injured and mental healing for those who witnessed horrific scenes.
This is not the time for simplistic statements or feel-good quotes. Like many people, I struggle to see God's plan in the loss of young, innocent lives. Yet I am assured by Scripture that, even in the darkest of times, God is with us. Psalm 46 reminds us: 'God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea' (1-2 NIV). On days like today, as the world appears to be crumbling, I and many others will cling more closely to our 'ever-present help'.
It seems incomprehensible that innocent young people could head out for a concert never to return. My heart breaks for all who were affected in Manchester – and for the many, many people who find their everyday lives blighted by fear because of the acts of a few misguided people who grotesquely misrepresent the faith they claim to follow.
I join many voices in observing that yesterday's tragedy began with the dreadful actions of just one person – but that this has been followed by thousands of acts of love and selflessness, with people from Manchester and beyond providing care and compassion. Our own Salvation Army teams were part of this response, supplying practical and pastoral support to the wonderful emergency services. I thank God for them all.
Finally, this is a time to remember the last gift that Jesus gave his disciples before handing himself over to be killed. 'Peace I leave with you,' he said; 'my peace I give you' (John 14:27).
In these difficult days, may we receive that peace; and may we seek to share it with friends, family members, colleagues and the wider world.
God bless you.
Photo courtesy Richard Chambers, Newstalk 106Tags: The General, Statement