“As a New Zealand member of the Catch Community, here on the ground, there has been a profound sense of shock and disbelief as this tragedy has unfolded before our eyes.” Dave, a Catch MemberPartner from New Zealand has given us a “boots-on-the-ground” view of the recent tragic shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand that left 50 dead and scores wounded. Most of the victims were immigrants from more violent countries who escaped to the relative safety of this normally quiet, peaceful island. Who would have ever thought this would happen here?
“And yet the actions of the gunman,” Dave writes, “have had the opposite effect to what he intended. There has been a universal outpouring of grief, compassion and caring towards our Muslim neighbors and fellow citizens. There have been untold examples of non-Muslims reaching out to Muslim members in our community and huge rallies of support and solidarity that have affirmed our diversity and unique common identity as Kiwis. It has been strangely wonderful and heartwarming to behold. It has been a taste of ‘grace in action.’ As a nation we have never been more united.”
And here is another positive expression coming out of this unspeakable tragedy: Christians are joining people of other faiths and traditions in the fight for a common humanity. People are retaliating with love and compassion. We are seeing a public square forming around people’s shock, anger and unanimity. It’s as if the worst in humanity is bringing out the best in humanity. And as Christians, it is good that we join in with this demonstration of affirmation wherever we see the opportunity.
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s young prime minister, speaking to a high school that lost two students in the attack said, “Look after one another but also let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism. That’s something we can all do.”
And finally, John, another one of our readers, concludes, “We either live united or die separately. Satan knows if he can divide us all we are easier to take down. But when compassion unites us, the power of hate is defeated.”