“…and the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done in it.’”
Ezekiel 9:4 (NKJV UK)
Our news services are, rightly, full of the conflict and tragedy such as a commercial airliner being blasted out of the sky with the death of over 200 innocent people. There is a suspicion that those who fired the missile mistook it for a military plane, but we will have to await the outcome of enquiries to confirm this. But that doesn’t in any way mitigate against the atrocity.
Our governments, again rightly, protest in the strongest condemnatory terms. But one aspect of all of this continues to baffle me, as a Christian living in a supposedly Christian-led country. I have heard nothing said by any of our leading Church men. Where is the comment on the religious aspect of all of this? War has rules, you know, which nations are supposed to follow. And think of the other wars going on, between Israel and the Palestinians, for example.
Well, leaving any blame-game aside—God lays upon each one of us as Christians a responsibility in all of this (see above). But then, again, that’s something I haven’t heard spoken of in Christian circles for some time either. No doubt the tragedy was mentioned in sermons and prayers in our churches across the nation, but collectively, as a public guiding voice, the outcry of Christianity is missing. So too is the call for individual Christians to sigh and cry about it.
Would it make any difference? Probably not. As a nation, any comments coming from churches concerning these wars might well be condemned as meddling and unhelpful. But that really isn’t the case.
The Christian protest should be heard. We need Christian leadership in our nation as well as political. We still claim to be a Christian nation. If we just asked for God’s intervention, he might well intervene. Not that we or the Balkans deserve his intervention, but God has graciously granted it down the ages—just for asking. Read the book of Judges carefully. Just because, at long last, time after time, when Israel asked for relief from their oppressors in war, he gave them wise rulers to solve the problem. Not a religious solution but a political one. Our God is never a hanging judge, but one who seeks our good through his mercy and graciousness. All we have to do is to ask. And individual Christians can do that.
Holy Father, we see and condemn all the conflicts that surround us. Please help us to translate such concerns into meaningful intercession with you. It is the least we can do to help the helpless. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by John Stettaford
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Prospect School, 6th Form Common Room
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