Ariana is a singer and lyricist who became famous through her acting on Nickelodeon. Her fans include young families and children. Often compared to Mariah Carey, her music is very popular world-wide and she is currently on a sold-out world tour which she suspended last evening following a terror attack at her concert in Manchester England.
This attack targeted young girls. I think of Immanuel’s middle school students and recent graduates…many of them would have loved to be at her concert just like the kids in Manchester England. Young people spending an evening watching a 21-year-old woman whom they watched on TV for years, perform music they admire. It all seemed so normal, innocent, and entertaining.
In an instant, everything turned and 21,000 concert goers experienced something that is expected only in the war zones of Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. There are sick people in this world who look at last evening’s concert as evil, unholy, and against their extreme religious views. I don’t even want to call it a religion. For me it is satanic hate, the darkest example of evil that is reserved only for those who absolutely reject everything that Christianity teaches. These evil people teach their own children to commit brutal murder, posting it on the internet for the world to see. Their children will not grow up healthy. What new acts of evil will they carry out as they follow their parents example?
Friday evening, I will be at Immanuel’s Graduation Ceremony. I thank God that their parents partnered with us and we have taught them well. They have a sense of absolutes, of right and wrong, of love to their neighbors, of forgiveness, faith and God’s never ending love for them. Their world is changing rapidly. Far too many of the changes are not good. Manchester reminds us all to draw ever closer to God.
I am not a global terrorism expert. I have read sections of the Quran, but I am not proficient on Islam. I am a simple parish pastor who wants to reassure people that God is still God. He has not abandoned us, nor will evil take away your faith!
Let’s pray together…
No one is unfamiliar to you
and you want all people to be saved and know the truth.
In your kindness, please watch over the victims of the Manchester attacks,
those who are caring for them,
those who lost loved ones,
those recovering from their injuries,
and those who witnessed unspeakable horrors.
Bring those who are guilty of terrorism to justice
and restore peace
as hate and anger is replaced with love and understanding.
Help us to remain steadfast.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesian 6:10 ff.
See you in church, and at graduation Friday night,