Archdeacon Michael Thompson, General Secretary of General Synod, has written the following statement on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada regarding recent violence in Peshawar and Nairobi.
Violent attacks on civilians in Pakistan and Kenya over the weekend remind us that peace is a fragile reality, always vulnerable to those who trust in the power of death to define and shape the world. Whether such attacks target Christians, as the bombing outside a Peshawar church did, or shoppers, as in Nairobi, it is the business of the disciples of Jesus to bear witness to the ultimate futility of violence, even as we express compassion and practical concern for its victims.
We follow the One whose death and resurrection unmask that futility and embody that compassion. Canadian Anglicans can hardly imagine what it is to live under the sort of fear imposed by the attack in Peshawar. We can only watch and witness to the courage and faithfulness of sisters and brothers in that place and give thanks for their continuing witness to the power of love, especially where it is bitterly opposed by those wielding death.
And we follow the One who heralds a new creation, where mourning and crying and pain will be no more, the One whose resurrection we receive as the promise of God making all things new (Revelation 21). Whatever is broken in the world as in the church, God promises to heal.
I believe that God welcomes the prayer of the church for the victims of these recent vicious attacks, for those whose lives are torn by the loss of friends, family and loved ones. And the witness of the ages is that God welcomes the prayer of the church for those who have turned to violence in the mistaken belief that it can, in the end, prevail.
The fourth Mark of Mission calls us “to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.” May we do so in confidence that we are part of the paschal victory of Jesus Christ by which God’s love and justice are revealed as our vocation and God’s promise. And may we do so with solemn awareness of the broken bodies that are joined to ours, and of the broken world God longs to heal.
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