Just ten months after the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices, and in other parts of Paris, the eyes of the world are once again turned towards France as another wave of violence engulfed the capital.
The consequences of this action, and the impact of vicious attacks across Nigeria, Mali, Egypt will only be assessed by history. Much has written about France viewing this as a ‘declaration of war’, sadly with echoes of George Bush’s famous ‘War on Terror’ speech.
Our viewpoint from Brive-La-Gaillarde seems like looking through a kaleidoscope:
– from the margins, it seems grey and fuzzy; we are not directly affected, but there is a cloud and climate of fear.
– the bigger picture is of many shapes that are interlinked, yet not defining one picture. There are many reactions to such events: negative ones, such as increased fear, antagonism against all who ‘look like muslims’, a rejection of all ‘religion’, as well as other positive ones – muslims seeking to reject and reform radicalism, those who are seeking hope and peace, and a genuine desire for unity and community.
– at the heart, a three-shaped figure, the Trinity. Through it all, we believe and trust that God is present, though we struggle to understand how. Locally, the greatest blessing has been a time of prayer, organised in over two days, with representatives from the Catholic church, the local Protestant ‘Réformé’ community, the Pentecostals (Assembly of God) and us baptists. Over 150 people attended and many others responded positively. May this be the beginning of greater unity among the people of God.
So, as the eyes of the world are on the kaleidoscope of France at this time, we pray for God’s Spirit to be poured out, to unite His people and let them rise up in faith and acts of love. May Jesus bring many to Him.
May He bring peace and justice to the world.
May His Kingdom come amongst us, as in Heaven.