Yes, it has happened again. This time to families, especially young people and children.
The powerful home-made bomb that went off at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on 22 May 2017 killed 22 people and injured about 60 others. All this even while the terror attack in London on 22 March 2017 remains fresh in one’s memory.
Then two days later, on 24 May 2017, two bombs went off in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing five people, including three policemen. And on 25 May 2017, a letter bomb went off in Athens, injuring former prime minister of Greece, Lucas Papademos. Then on 26 May 2017, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Minya, Egypt, with children among the at least 28 people massacred and dozens injured. It just doesn’t stop.
Our world is moving and changing at an incredible speed. It is getting more and more dangerous by the day, by the minute, by the second. Many lives have been lost. Many lives have been changed forever.
We ask ourselves: how could anyone so cold-bloodedly mastermind and execute such heinous crimes, causing injury and the loss of so many innocent lives? Then we remember all the conflicts and wars occurring around the world. We also remember the persecuted church – Christians across the globe who are persecuted for being faithful followers of our LORD Jesus.
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…” (Matthew 24: 12)
O Father in heaven, we live in troubled times. With each day, there is an increase of wickedness and godlessness, and the love of many is growing cold. But we know that “he who stands firm to the end will be saved”. We know You, O LORD, lift up those who are bowed down, and You, O LORD, love the righteous. You, O LORD, watch over the alien and sustain the fatherless and the widow. And You, O LORD, frustrate the ways of the wicked. We know that our LORD Jesus has already conquered sin, death and Satan on the cross. So even if things don’t seem to make sense right now, we will continue to trust in You. Our faith shall not waver. O Holy Spirit, strengthen us. Despite these confusing and uncertain times, we know that You, O God, are still in control. We know that nothing is impossible with You. We know that You, O LORD, are able to use even all the ugly bits to turn things around for good. We know that in all things, You, O God, work for the good of those who love You, who have been called according to Your purpose. May we also sense the times we are currently living in, and with great urgency share the Good News to all those around us, for we do not know who will be taken away from us tomorrow. O LORD Jesus, lead and guide us. We pray for Your grace to live purposeful lives during our own time here on earth. Let us also stand with our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church around the world and always remember them in our prayers. O Sovereign LORD, Your ways and thoughts are higher. We believe that everything remains part of Your Big Divine Plan to reveal Your glory to all the nations, so that You may in turn receive all the glory You alone deserve from all the nations. Amen.
Nun, Nuun (Arabic letter)
Of some significance of late because of its use by the militant Jihadist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in Iraq. The nun stands in for “Nasara,” or “Nazarene”, and is at the time of this writing being used to mark the homes of Christians in Mosul, Iraq. In a mimicry of the relatively tolerant practices of the Ottoman Caliphate, Christians whose homes have been marked have been given an ultimatum to convert, pay a steep ‘tax’ or flee.
The symbol has been taken up by Western Christians in solidarity with fellow Iraqi Christians.