Terror and despair, hope and mission

Friday was a depressing day. A decapitation in France; a bomb in a Shia Mosque in Kuwait and the shootings in Tunisia. It was supposed to be a joyful day with the end of term at All Nations and the party that follows. As the day unfolded and the news related the awful events, I was tempted, as has happened many times before, to despair, to lose hope.

I say I was “tempted” because for the Christian, to despair is sinful. For the Christian we have a message of hope. God has intervened in this world to right wrong. The message of Jesus Christ is that God WILL bring His kingdom on earth. His righteous rule WILL ultimately be established. God has already begun that process in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He sent his Spirit in order that the church continues that mission. That is why it is a sin to despair. If the church loses hope, what chance does the world have.

A great example of how this is put into practice is how the victims’ families reacted after the shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. In the face of true evil, they found it in the hearts to forgive. Hate does not have the last word, love does. Because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those people–mainly women I may add–the Gospel was proclaimed in action.