The horrific attack in Christchurch, New Zealand last Friday brought shock and devastation not only in New Zealand but the whole world.
That a gunman, driven by blind ideology could carry out such an atrocity is beyond comprehension.
Those who died were men, women and children heeding the call to prayer on their holy day unaware that evil was lurking nearby ready to kill and maim so indiscriminately.
Fifty people died and many more injured in a country which holds firm to its principles of liberty and tolerance where religious freedom is celebrated and protected.
New Zealand’s openness, freedom of expression and feeling of safety have all been shaken to the core by a man whose objective was to impose his extremist views in the most callous and brutal way.
His intentions however have brought an even greater determination from the government and people of New Zealand, that despite the deep shock and acute grief this atrocity have brought, no such perverted ideologies will never succeed or have a place in their society.
A gathering of over ten thousand young people in a candlelight vigil on Sunday reflected the sympathy and compassion of a growing generation who along with those of all ages who will not allow this evil have the final word.
It’s really hard to look beyond this act of evil and to begin to try and find any sort of answer to the question ‘Why?’
We have seen the worst that man can do but have also seen the great outpourings of love and compassion from all over the world.
Sympathy and sorrow have mingled with feelings of outrage that such evil should have raised its head in a such a peace-loving country up to now unaffected by the plague of terrorism.
If tears have welled in our eyes as we have observed from afar how much more is God’s passion and love stirred.
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden declared that the heart of her nation had been broken how much more the heart of God.
That gunman had a manifesto of hate – thank God that Jesus’ manifesto speaks of love, going the extra mile, turning the other cheek and of loving our neighbour as we love ourselves.
We also pray that God in his mercy will comfort the broken hearted and give peace and renewed faith to the people of New Zealand as they continue to live by those God given principles of tolerance, freedom and love.