Typically I would blog about the coming sermon, but I just finished reading an article (http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2014-08/persecuted-pakistan) by a friend, Titus Presler, who is the principal of Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan. After reflecting on his experience (he was recently beaten by those who oppose a Christian presence in the country), I felt compelled to focus on this instead.
What struck me most about his article was that while addressing the problems within Pakistan and with Muslim extremists, which includes his own beating, he did so without demonizing or maligning Islam. In fact, amid the tensions he found sanctuary in the home of a Muslim friend.
I’m inspired by this, because the words from Sunday’s congregational prayer still echo within me: “O God the Creator, we pray for all nations and peoples. Take away the mistrust and lack of understanding that divide your creatures; increase in us the recognition that we are all your children.”
This is one of those things that is easy to pray but difficult to practice. I’m great at recognizing someone as a child of God when he or she is volunteering at the senior center. But when someone threatens the lives of others in the name of religion, it’s not so easy!
To be honest, I’m not sure how we reflect this toward those who demonize and provoke us. But I’m convinced that we must strive to do so if there is any hope for humanity. A good place to begin is to continue to pray that God will take away the mistrust and lack of understanding that divide us, and increase in us all the recognition that we are all God’s children.
Titus offered a prayer as he drove away from his attackers. Before reading it, I encourage you first to imagine what you would have prayed in such circumstances.