Its extraordinary to think that men went into a Mosque In New Zealand, a house of prayer, with machine guns to kill men and women and children. What madness would make you think such an action was alright. What belief or thought would justify such deeds? It’s difficult to make sense of it.
We are piecing it together. It was planned, perhaps over a long period. The place was chosen, the day was picked, the attackers travelled many miles to get to the vulnerable spot. It was deliberate. - against a religion, against people at their hour of prayer. Its done to kill and maim as many as were possible. The attackers were young men of the far right, radicalised, wound up by others to do the most extreme things. This time it was a mosque, the last time it was the synagogue in America, a shor time ago it was churches n the Philippines.
These are sad times in which the legacy of war and conflict are like fires burning all around us. It’s not right the at great powers unleash bobs from the skies and the seas that rain down on villages and towns. It’s not right that men and women bomb market squares, busy thoroughfares, times when people are going about their business. Houses of prayer, wedding receptions and so on. But are they not part of that same cycle of violence that we have become caught up in.
You cannot help thinking that it is all connected: the War on Terror, the mad politics, the populists and extreme leaders, the quickness which people go for their gun, call for war and so on, the lack of consensus. In which small groups of extremists think they can do harm to others. It all seems somehow connected. One thing leads to another. It feels as if we are shifting further and further to the edges. On the edges we think we cannot be more shocked by an action, only to find out that we are shocked, that every law of decency and things that we thought were civilised behaviour are broken.
Today our minds are directed to a mountain top, a place far from the battlefields of the world. A windswept place perhaps were the air is clean and the beauty of the world can be seen by the men who climb up to the heights. Another place that this it would be difficult to imagine would be more peaceful.
In this place the son of God is trans=figured in light. His clothes become shining brighter, brighter than earthly bleacher could make them, the Gospel says. So bright is this light that the Apostle shield their eyes,
What we have heard on this Sunday is of the transfigured Lord and the beams of light that emanate from him into the world.
What we believe in unlike these times is a world that is transfired by the light of his grace. Problems can be solved. Enemies can be reconciled. Disputes can be ended. You don’t need to go for your gun. You don’t need to enter into bluster of threats. You don’t need to create a culture where it is an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.
We believe in a transfigured world through the presence of our lord. Darkness can become light. Hope can return. Things that have fallen down can be rebuilt.
We believe in transfiguration. That something can be transformed, changed by the power of grace.
People are right to be shocked by the events in New Zealand, a place that couldn’t be further from us and yet seems close, very close. It could have been our Mosque, it could have been a church like this, a street like our own. The people although unknown to us are in a certain snese known to us, old people, young people and children.
The sadness is shared by us all, it is our common humanity that we share.
There is a need tnot to give into hopelessness and extreme views. ~These are times to keep a clear head and not to lose sight of our ideals, our hopes and aspirations for the world.
The beans of light shine out from the Lord’s garmets, these can never be dimmed, vcan never be shut out even in the darkest moments of life.