The term “interconnectedness” is ubiquitously used to describe the effects of social media, global markets, or international travels. After the November 13 Paris attacks, this term took on a new meaning as the flow of global empathy reached me as a French citizen. I received emails, phone calls, flowers, cards, and visits from neighbors, colleagues, and friends. It was a beautiful example of global connection through thick and thin.
Concurrently pain generated another kind of interconnectedness. Around the same time, Turkey, Russia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Cameroon, Mali, and Tunisia also experienced terror outbreaks. I wished that besides the French flag there had been flags of every terror-stricken country illuminating the major landmarks of the world. After promptly flying from Pasadena to Paris this week, I brought to the various sites of these attacks the prayers of the Fuller community (see pictures), harboring in my mind all those other terror-stricken places around the world. I cried out to God, remembering the grief of families who lost loved ones, the suffering of the injured, and the shame of the families and communities of those who perpetrated these shocking acts of terror!
1. Praying for every place where terrorism strikes and that the cycle of terror will stop.
The Bible offers many prayers in this regard, such as Psalm 10:18, which states, “[You, Lord, defend] the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror,” or the prayer in the book of Lamentations, in the midst of overwhelming terror and devastation, which states, “My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees” (Lam. 3:49-50). But I also turn to prayers that brothers and sisters who faced similar ordeals in other times and places have shared with us, such as the ones of the assassinated monks of Tibhirine, Algeria, or the prayers of the parishioners of the burnt-down church in Minya, Egypt. It is urgent to integrate prayers against terror in our liturgies to bring healing and prevent such horrors.
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For further learning, check out Evelyne’s Urbana talk on Christian and Muslim Relations.