Finding refuge in God after Brussels

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In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge,
a strong fortress, to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.

—Psalm 71:1-6

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

These verses, from the Revised Common Lectionary for Tuesday, 22 March, are a timely reminder of where we must set our faith, our hope, our trust and our commitment in the face of the violence and injustice rampant in our world today.

In this most holy of weeks, we join with our sisters and brothers to mourn the senseless deaths of those in Brussels, while not forgetting the recent string of assaults in other countries and the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Please lift in prayer the families and friends of the victims and all those who are impacted by these evil actions. Please be in touch with our sisters and brothers of the United Protestant Church in Belgium, giving them the comfort and support needed at this difficult time. We must continue to reach across borders to ensure that all who are touched by tragedy know they are not alone—and that God remains their true refuge.

We reiterate what we said after last year’s terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris: We condemn all violent actions and reactions. Violence has no place in this world so loved by God—in any place, at any time or for any reason. This includes violence perpetrated by the powerful on the weak, violence under the guise of any religion and the structures of violence propagated by a global military-industrial complex.

As churches of a Communion dedicated to realising God’s Kingdom here on earth, we must advocate for solutions that address the situation as a whole, that create peace-building initiatives that address the root causes. We must collectively support and press our respective governments to:

  • prioritise peacemaking and reconstruction over violence and destruction
  • welcome all as neighbours rather than build fences
  • care for the marginalised and poor instead of shunting them into slums
  • recognise people as God’s children instead of labeling them as “other”

Only when we are able to shift the conversation and change the priorities will we be able to effectively address these deep structures of injustice where wars and conflict are cloaked in false claims of religion.

Our calls for action must of course come with constant prayer and a profound recognition of our responsibility as God’s people committed to do as much as we possibly can to transform the world for justice, reconciliation and peace.

In Christ,

Chris Ferguson
General Secretary

  • Read a statement from the United Protestant Church in Belgium: English, French

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