In the last couple of months we’ve seen a number of events in the news which stirred a lot of emotions – one of the biggest stories possibly being the terror attacks in Paris which left one hundred and thirty people dead and many more injured.
As Facebook feeds filled with profile pictures in support of people in France, we were also reminded that similar attacks are happening all around the world – with less media coverage and or concern. Arguments flared online about why this is the case, from accusations of racism to acknowledgement that people feel more of a connection to a place that they may have travelled to.
As this played out, we can surely be reminded that we live in a hurting world.
Alan Austin, a Uniting Church member, is currently living in Nimes in the south of France. He has previously worked for Crosslight, the publication of the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania, and has written a reflection piece in the wake of the Paris attack which highlights many unanswered questions.
As this is written, four days later, there are still no answers. Plenty have been offered, of course. This is proof to some that military spending must be increased and armed force against enemies be escalated. To others, proof that military spending must be cut and the application of armed force ended. To several, this demands closure of national borders to refugee flows from war zones such as Syria. To others, this requires renewed efforts to welcome and support those needing a safe haven and at risk of radicalisation if refused.
Some have claimed this attack on an overtly secular nation with a strong Christian history is evidence of the hatred Islam has for secularism or Christianity. Others, including Stafford, our Anglican minister here in the Gard, reminded us the day after the massacres that “the events in Paris have also been the experience of Ankara, Istanbul, Lebanon, Syria and Pakistan in the last month.”
Our theme for this edition of Revive is ‘Hearing God’s call.’ As we are reminded of so much hurt in the world, it’s timely to reflect on our own place within it. We can’t fix everything, but we can think about how God might be calling us to make the world a better place.
Read Alan’s full length reflection at https://revivemagazine.org.au/2015/11/25/reflection-from-a-commune-in-france/