The bad news comes in all the time, battering us from every side. Wildfires. Earthquakes. Violence. Children killed. Persecution. It seems relentless.
And religion has got itself a very bad name. Oh yes. I don’t need to enumerate the instances when one faith has persecuted another, and continues to do so. It’s enough to make you despair.
Unless you look behind the headlines, at the things that the media does not report. I don’t know why. They have such power, and if only they would sometimes consider that good news is worth publishing, they could influence things for good.
Today a friend of mine has posted this Youtube clip.
It is of a Muslim Imam (teacher), going with his friends and followers into a Christian church in Egypt, where they are welcomed, and where he is invited to address the congregation. He speaks very strongly about how important it is for them to continue to work together, for the sake of their country. It’s clear that they are already friends and colleagues, and stood together through the uprising.
Yes, no doubt there are grounds for cynicism. But if this is their attitude, may God bless them.
On the same topic, recently a friend of ours, who is a Georgian Christian Archbishop, was invited by the head of the MECO mosque in Oxford (Muslim Education Centre of Oxford) to give the ‘khutba’ or sermon at the Friday prayers. This is a groundbreaking event and I hope there will be many more.
I have the full text of his talk, in which he explains the horrible causes of hate between Chechens and Georgians, and how his own church there overcame this hatred to help refugee Chechens. His church has gone on to develop its reconciliation work in all sorts of ways.
When I hear of these things happening – and a great deal more is happening that is never covered by the media (why not??!!) then I feel proud to be a person of faith amongst friends who are living out their faith in very difficult situations, in ways that work towards harmony. They are not sitting down in despair. They are doing everything they can.