I had wanted to have a cheery post for you today but the dark clouds over the world have been creeping into my little corner of life. Truly, there seems no end to the troubles this year.
Bloodshed, cruelty and conflict in Gaza, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Kenya, Somalia and Pakistan. Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
And what is it with all the plane disasters. MH370 remains missing and then we had the shock of the loss of MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Then, there was the TransAsia ATR 72 crash in Taiwan; the Air Algerie AH 5017 crash in the Sahara and finally a young teenager and his father perish when their plane ditches into the sea on the last leg of their round the world flight as they raised money for schools in Pakistan.
When we watch all these news on TV or on the internet, we cannot not be affected by the sense of tragedy and suffering. Generally though, it is happening to people we don’t know and in a place distant from most of us. Still, there is a degree of separation between us and the event.
However, in the last week, that degree of separation was greatly reduced.
It turns out that the daughter-in-law and grandchild of someone I know perished on flight MH 17. Another friend’s family was on a different flight but was due to have flown over that same airspace at that time except that it turned back to the terminal after experiencing some technical problems while they were on the runway waiting to take off. Yet another friend had been working in the Netherlands and had tried to book a seat on the ill-fated flight to return to Kuala Lumpur. He eventually flew the next day on the flight with the same call number.
And then, there was the news from Afghanistan. Two Finnish aid workers with a Christian charity were killed by gunmen in Herat, Western Afghanistan. Just last month, we played host to a friend visiting from abroad. He stayed a few days at our home. He knew both these women. They had both served and lived in Afghanistan for a few years. The organisation has been there since 1966 working to providing eye treatment, mental health treatment, and helping communities.
And so, in this way, some of these recent tragedies became a little more real to me. My response is to pray for God’s mercy for us all.
There is a Graham Kendrik song that always reminds me the need for such a prayer. Here are just some of the words of the song;
O Lord, over the nations now
Where is the dove of peace?
Her wings are broken
O Lord, while precious children starve
The tools of war increase, Their bread is stolen
O Lord, dark powers are poised to flood
Our streets with hate and fear
We must awaken!
O Lord, let love reclaim the lives
That sin would sweep away
And let your kingdom come
Have mercy Lord, Forgive us Lord, Restore us Lord, Revive your church again
Let justice flow like rivers and righteousness like a never failing stream.