I went, with thousands of others, to Hagley Park at 1:30 today. It was a very moving time of silence and listening to the Imam. As you have probably seen and heard, he spoke of peace, of unity, of the good will of New Zealanders. He thanked every day New Zealanders, the police, our Prime Minister and government and he spoke of forgiveness and being one country. It was a very unifying and moving speech. The Islamic community prayed and we sat in silence. I prayed for them. Yes, for peace and unity and forgiveness. I too am grateful for our country and the leadership of our Prime Minister, but I also prayed for the revelation of the love and fullness of Christ to be there for everyone who was gathered.
Whoever we are, there is always more of the fullness of God’s revelation in Christ to experience, to see and to come to understand. Many Muslim people too have experienced visions and experiences of Christ. Let’s pray for more here and around the world through this tragedy and our response.
Our humanity and compassion, our desire for peace and appreciation of each other unites us. As does our support for everyone to worship and pray in their own way with respect and protection. Yet our faiths are different. Our ways of worship are unique. Christians worship Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God and that is distinctive. For us, Easter is decisive. For at Easter God suffered and died. God bore the pain, brokenness and sin of the world in human time and human form and then God rose victorious over every enemy, power and principality in all eternity. This the heart of the Christian faith that we hold with humility and gentleness.
If you want to ponder more on the relationship between Christians and Muslims go and listen to what Bob Robinson said last year at one of our Sunday services – https://www.swbc.org.nz/gatherings/media/podcast-messages/?sapurl=Lys0M2U0L2xiL21pLys2N2czbWh4P2VtYmVkPXRydWU=
Remember the words of Micah – “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6 v 8)