‘God is Great, I bear witness that there is no god except the One God,’ says the Muslim call to prayer. It echoes the Jewish proclamation: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one,’ (Deuteronomy 6:4).
As Christians, we bear witness that there is one creator God. Of course, there are differences in our faiths—for us, God is our Father. Jesus is both God, and the path to God. These truths are indelibly written on our hearts, so we need not be threatened by other understandings of God.
So I was moved that, as a nation, we turned to God in prayer before our two minutes of silence—it was an opportunity to acknowledge and honour our Atua God, within the darkness of the hour.
Like many, I attended my local mosque for the ceremony, and was greeted by hugs from the Islamic women present. It was another moment of beauty, within the ashes.
As I’ve seen relatives of the shooting victims publicly forgiving the killer, and spreading messages of love and unity, I have reflected on how—as a Christian—I have sinfully focused on the differences in our faith, rather than our shared humanity.
God’s story is one of drawing all people to him—the Bible is full of outsiders welcomed in as part of God’s family: from Ruth and Rahab, to the Samaritan, slave and tax collector. May we no longer treat people as ‘other’, when God calls us all to himself.
In our feature, Tim Harper talked about creating a ‘community of offering’. This is the offering that God requires: to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). Let this be the kind of offering we each, in our own way, bring to God during these days.
Hebrews 13:16 (BBE)
But go on doing good and giving to others, because God is well-pleased with such offerings.
Ngā Hiperu 13:16
Kei wareware hoki ki te mahi pai, ki te atawhai: e manakohia ana hoki e te Atua ngā patunga tapu pera.