Sometimes it does us good to look at life from a different standpoint. It reminds us that we are part of a large and complex world. We may get hear about certain events because they happen close to us, or in a culture that is familiar. It is important to remember that people all over the world are facing and overcoming all sorts of challenges every day. The terrible events that unfolded in Paris on Friday were shocking in their brutality and also are very close to us geographically. They are receiving so much coverage because of the implications for security in this country and our involvement in military action in Syria. The lives that were lost to brutal terror in Nigeria are no less valuable in God’s eyes. Families in both countries will mourn their loss and struggle to make sense of senseless killing. Politicians will make promises which they may not be able to keep. More lives will be lost before peace comes to Nigeria, France or Syria.
The evil of these violence acts infects us when we start to value some lives more than others, based on geography, social status, colour of skin or gender. In the early days of MCC, several of our premises were damaged, vandalised, or visited, in the USA, by the Klu Klux Klan. In June 1973, someone set a fire which trapped many LGBT folk in the Upstairs bar in New Orleans*. 32 people died in the fire, including the pastor of MCC New Orleans, Reverend Bill Larson and several members of the congregation. The chief of detectives in the New Orleans Police Department said this about the incident in a local paper at the time “Some thieves hung out there – and you know it was a queer bar”. All lives matter. We are ALL made in the image and likeness of God.
* You can find out more about the Upstairs Bar fire http://tinyurl.com/oby5bph
or read 'Don't Be Afraid Anymore' by Reverend Troy. D. Perry.
A documentary film has been made about the fire and its aftermath called 'Upstairs Inferno'