There is room at the table for everyone!

As humans we have had a bad week.  We are not doing well in caring for one another, for seeking love over hate, peace over war or forgiveness and compassion over revenge. Yet somehow lights have been turned on.  The light of love is shining and we have to be its bearers.

While there has be much said and written about ISIS, the most commented on article appeared on The Project and went viral on social media, with over 23 million hits.  Waleed Aly, a Muslim presenter, suggested that by turning on ourselves, our communities, people who are not like us, which includes the millions of Muslins around the world and many of the refugees fleeing conflict and war, we are helping ISIS.

This is what Waleed Ali had to say…

“There is a reason ISIL still want to appear so powerful, why they don’t want to acknowledge that the land they control has been taken from weak enemies, that they are pinned down by air strikes or that just last weekend they lost a significant part of their territory,” he said on the program.

“ISIL don’t want you to know they would quickly be crushed if they ever faced a proper Army on a battlefield’

“They want you to fear them. They want you to get angry. They want all of us to become hostile and here is why: ISIL’s strategy is to split the world into two camps. It is that black and white”.

Aly asserted that ISIL’s ultimate aim is to turn the western world against Muslims, and have Muslims of the world turn to ISIL.

“So, if you are a member of Parliament or a has-been member of Parliament preaching hate at a time when what we actually need is more love — you are helping ISIL. They have told us that. If you are a Muslim leader telling your community they have no place here or basically them saying the same thing — you are helping ISIL”.

‘If you are just someone with a Facebook or Twitter account firing off misguided messages of hate, you are helping ISIL”.

“I am pretty sure that right now none of us wants to help these bastards”.

These words have struck a cord with many, many people around the world.

But there has been others, less profile, but still powerful. This from a French journalist who was held captive for a time by ISIS.  He wrote….

“They [IS] present themselves to the public as superheroes, but away from the camera are a bit pathetic in many ways: street kids drunk on ideology and power … there is much we can achieve in the aftermath of the [Paris] atrocity, and the key is strong hearts and resilience, for that is what they fear. I know them: bombing they expect. What they fear is unity.”

Unity, I feel like shouting out, is a call from Jesus, is a call to us.

In Jesus we see and have an alternative vision for our world and for us.  In Jesus we see our hope.  Not a magical other worldly Jesus or a Jesus who rules with violence and fear, and not a Jesus whose clothes are sparkling and who only eats and drinks with the rich and powerful.  No, our hope lies in a Jesus who calls us together, as one, to build up life, not destroy it. For all people, not just for some.

As Desmond Tutu has said, the only way we can be human is together, the only way we can be free is together.  The only way we can be secure is together.  That is the logic of God’s creation.

Let us light a candle, a Christ candle, a light in the darkness, in our homes and in our churches.  There is a song by Carrie Newcomer, who I introduced you to in my last blog, which says it all.  We listen to this knowing there are calls coming from around the world and within Australia to reduce our compassion for refugees, out of fear…..  When what is needed is more love.

 Let our hearts not be hardened to those living on the margin

 There is room at the table for everyone

This is where it all begins, this is how we gather in

There is room at the table for everyone


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