On behalf of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches I ask that all of us find time to hold all those injured in the attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday in our hearts.
As the terrible news filtered through, it became clear that not only had there been eight bomb blasts but that the targets specifically chosen for attack had been worshippers and holiday-makers, and over 200 have died as a result.
As I write it is unclear who was responsible for the attacks or why they attacked. What is clear is that hatred exploded with the bombs. What bred that hatred will, perhaps become clear, but perhaps not, and all those affected by this tragedy will be left wondering why. Sadly such things are not unusual in our world and we have, perhaps, become inured to the suffering of others in the seeming avalanche of dreadful and depressing news of violence and death in which the blameless, the children and civilians are those who bear the brunt.
This is not the only difficult news, closer to home, violence in Derry, Northern Ireland has seen the death of a young reporter and a community once divided apparently coming together to condemn the senseless killing. I am reminded of the parable of the Samaritan, the loathed outsider, who helped the man set upon by robbers. Let us not walk by on the other side of the road, but stop and be of whatever assistance we can be. Let us not look at the news and feel momentarily sad, but rather find out if we can do anything at all to relieve not just the suffering but the hatred. Hatred festers unless it is cleansed, treated and healed. Let us become healers, Samaritans, do-ers, not simply bystanders.
Rev Celia Cartwright
President of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
Sunday 21st April 2019