Some days it’s all too evident that the world is one hot mess. Yesterday was one of those days. Tuesday there was an ISIS attack in Belgium. Two coordinated explosions killed at least 30 people and injured 230 others. The attacks will be used by some to paint Islam as a religion of hate, which is handy if you want to whip people into a fear fueled frenzy for your own purposes.
On Facebook I read that on March 14 six gunmen opened fire on a beach in the Ivory Coast, killing 22 people, including a boy begging for his life. I hadn’t heard anything about it on network news. But while working out Wednesday morning, I saw that every TV was tuned to news programs that had plenty of time to cover the the mud-slinging about wives between Cruz and Trump but hadn’t mentioned the terrorist attack n March 20 in Yemen that killed 137 people.
Selective outrage is nothing new. Paris, Brussels and San Bernardino make the headlines. Attacks in Libya, Yemen and Tunisia do not.
The horrific events and our ability to ignore them reveal the ongoing brokenness, sin and evil in the world. It’s the same song, second verse, a little bit louder and a little bit worse. A second biblical flood to wipe out all of humanity looks like the best possible option.
God seems intent on remembering the promise marked by the rainbow – to never again destroy the earth. A cynic would say that we don’t need God’s help – we seem intent on destroying the earth all by ourselves.
My perspective from the midst of Holy Week preparations tames my inner cynic and helps me even to hope. The story of Holy Week is that in some way (which I’ll probably never fully understand) God entered human life in the person of Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross shows us that God doesn’t just show up in the sunset and the lake front and the new baby. God also shows up in the bombings, in the hate filled rallies, in the drive by shootings.
God is there and not just in the acts of heroism or mercy. God is there in the suffering. And God’s presence makes a difference. The story of God raising Jesus from the dead, whether myth or history, reveals God’s activity in continually leading us toward new life, toward peace, toward reconciliation– even and especially where it seems impossible.