Vicar’s Reflection: Lent 3, 24h March 2019
There are forces of evil at work in our world. Who can doubt this after the massacre in Christchurch of fifty innocent people and the injury of the same number? It is too simple to say this event was the act of a ‘crazy person’ acting alone. It is too simple to demonise white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Muslims, fundamentalists or whatever, when a society glorifies guns, makes them abundantly available, sells video games that use graphic violence. There is a valid place for the responsible use of guns. Part of that responsibility is to ensure that those with evil intentions are unable to use this freedom to commit acts of violence. Free societies have a certain vulnerability to those who nurture an ideology of hatred and violence; cynical leaders and movements can persuade young people to sacrifice themselves or to kill the innocent for a cause. The events at two mosques in Christchurch last Friday cannot be understood unless we recognise that it was done by someone caught in a social web that was sick and corrupt. He chose to commit murder so he must face both the legal and moral consequences. But his murderous intentions were nurtured by an ideology of hate that has no place in any society. Our church bell will ring fifty times today at 3pm (Friday 22 March) one week after the massacre, to mark the lives lost and to ring out our prayers, sorrow and aroha to the Muslim community who are our brothers and sisters before God. As Salam Alaikum!