It is Holy Week. This is the week we journey with our Lord Jesus towards the cross.
This morning I awoke to stories of bombs in Belgium. My heart hurts for the people of Belgium. My heart is also fearful. As someone who once traveled a lot and hopes to again one day, the bombing of any major international airport really hits home. The thought actually crossed my mind that I should take note to avoid the Brussels airport in any future travels.
Isn’t that where our heads always go? If we can just avoid the trouble spots we will be safe. If we can just keep “those people” out of our country we will all be ok. But is the gospel about safety? If at no other time of the year, surely during Holy Week we can understand that worshipping safety is one of the most anti-Christ things we can do.
So in our meditations during Holy Week we must ask ourselves, “what can we do to combat the violence we see in our world without hiding from it or becoming a part of it?” First and foremost we must choose love. We must love the perpetrators of violence as much as we love the victims of violence. The person who strapped a bomb to themselves in Belgium this morning is just as much a dearly loved child of God as you or I. Had we grown up the way that person grew up, perhaps we would have chosen the path they chose. Recognizing this is our first step in our own via dolorosa.
The next step we must take is to choose to stand with our peace loving Muslim brothers and sisters. As of my writing of this it has not been confirmed that it was a Muslim terrorist organization which enacted the attacks in Belgium, but that is already the belief here in America. No matter what comes of the story in Belgium, the climate here in America is to blame all Muslims whenever something like this happens. Make the choice to stand with your Muslim brothers and sisters.
Finally, and honestly, this may be the most difficult step in our response. We must choose to walk against the tide of fear. We must choose to visit Belgium or Turkey if that had been our desire before this. Fly through Brussels if that is the route Expedia suggests. Do not allow violent fear mongers to control our actions. In the same way that we must not allow our own politicians to make us fearful of Muslims, we must not allow terrorists to make us fearful of traveling. If we cancel our trips or pay more to fly around certain countries, the terrorists win. If we choose to hate or live in fear of certain groups of people, the terrorists win.
We will not be intimidated, even though my heart feels very intimidated. We will not shrink back and allow violence to win the day. We will move forward with love in our hearts and prophetic imagination on our minds. Choose to dance when the world tells us to hide. Choose to plant a garden when the world tells us to build a bomb shelter. Choose to give food to the homeless when the world tells us to stockpile our goods. We combat evil with love and love will win the day.
Take note, however, that this is a via dolorosa. Fortunately, we know that in Christ, even in death, life is found.
Let us continue to journey together on this via dolorosa we call Christianity.
Peace to all.