By now, we are surely all aware of the tragedy which played out in New Zealand this past Friday, March 15, 2019.
A right-wing extremist armed with semi-automatic weapons rampaged through two mosques in the city of Christchurch during afternoon prayers, killing 49 worshippers and wounding dozens more.
His two targets were the Masjid al Noor mosque near Hagley Park in the city’s centre—where 41 worshippers died—and a second, smaller mosque in the suburb of Linwood, where seven more were killed. The remaining victim succumbed in hospital.
The dead and injured included women and children. Around 48 people were treated for gunshot wounds at Christchurch Hospital, including young children, with injuries ranging from critical to minor.
The attack is believed to be the deadliest against Muslims in the West in the modern era.
When any community of faith is attacked in this way, all people of faith are touched by it.
The abomination which unfolded in Christchurch on Friday was directed, ostensibly, against followers of Islam; but in very truth, it was an assault upon all the “people of the book”—Muslims, and Jews, and Christians alike. More than that, it was an affront to the One God whom we all worship. The forces of darkness lie behind it. Our common responsibility, as always, is to stand against such evil—and to stand together. And to walk together, arm in arm, through these darkest of days.
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, NRSV)