A Song for All People
God's love and faithfulness are for the whole world to know.
On a Sunday morning in 2013, two Muslim suicide bombers entered All Saints' Church in Peshawar, Pakistan and detonated the explosives, killing 127 men, women, and children. 250 were wounded. Because it's a Muslim state, those who were Christians in that church were the oppressed minority of that particular area. There were no jobs for them apart from the jobs that nobody else wanted; most of the people in the church were garbage collectors. There was no safety net for their wounds, for their funerals. There were no social services: there was no one in the society to help them along.
So on Monday, the day after the bombing, the people at the church came back and gathered the Sunday School papers that had been spread by the bomb, and they gathered the shoes of the children murdered and wounded so they could be used by others who needed them. Then they washed the walls of the blood of their families and friends. As they did so, even the secular report said their wails of agony pierced the silence of the indifferent neighborhood around them. Then, when the walls were clean, they arranged the pews and sat and began to sing songs of praise to God.
Why? Because they remembered their charter. The church, established over 100 years before, had said from its outset, "This church is to be a witness for Christ in a major Islamic city." They believed they truly would do what the psalmist had said so long ago: that they would enthrone Christ in the praises of his people. They would be a witness to the greatness and the goodness of their God—particularly in the face of tragedy—if they would continue to praise him in the midst of agony and oppression, so that all the world could see our God is not going to be stopped ...
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Bryan Chapell is the senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois.