Psalm 24, verse one. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”(NIV).
What a comfort this is to me.
Yesterday, here in Australia, 3 people died as a result of a siege in Martin Place Sydney, up 18 innocent people held hostage for 16 hours by a religious extremist gunman.
As the last couple of days have unfolded, television and social media has given 24/7 coverage of events, with live footage around the clock including traumatised hostages escaping the building periodically and the final shoot-out. It was no Bruce Willis movie, it was real. Right before our eyes.
I don’t know about any others here in the state of New South Wales and in our country, but for me, I feel somewhat traumatised myself. I’ve not been one in recent times to engage much in media coverage of so-called news because I have found the information and visual images to serve nothing other than rob me of the peace of Jesus over my mind and heart. “Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee” is a scripture that comes to mind. Another is the scripture in Philippians Chapter 4 which reads “Be anxious for nothing, but by everything in prayer with thanks giving, make known your needs to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus”.
However, I have felt relatively drawn in to switching on the news over these last few days, almost as if some inner part of me was deeply connected to these suffering Australians. When I say “suffering Australians” I’m referring to not only the innocent hostages but the people reporting, the people who are trained to intervene and rescue (police special forces), the people who have to give account to and comfort the nation (politicians and heads of police and security departments), the average bloke standing at the now enormous memorial site, crying. All people. My people.
Although on a comparative scale of acts of terror across the world in the last decade or two and the suffering and murderous evil activities in other countries, this event may not have been enormous, in our little country it was. And for the average person like me sitting at home in the living room there is a strange sensation of national pride, the famous Aussie mate-ship, love for and unity with my fellow-man.
It’s amazing what persecution of the innocent, joint-suffering and shared grief can do. The power of joining in the ‘fellowship of suffering’ is truly something of a spiritual nature. There is almost a beauty that comes to life through it. How can that be?
Well, the ones who know Jesus understand this phenomenon because we understand the body of Christ. We understand that as the body of Christ, we are one – many parts, but one body. God has also given us a oneness with all mankind, whether believers unto Christ or not. Jesus clearly had a love for His fellow-man as we read of His life in the gospels of the New Testament. Jesus wept. Jesus felt compassion for the masses. Jesus ate with the tax collectors and talked with the outcast. Jesus un-shamed the socially shamed and showed affection for the down-trodden. Jesus upheld the rights of the innocent. Jesus gave His life for the sinners – that’s all the world, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Christ’s commandment to us was and still is to “love others as I have loved you”.
All these burdens and cares that are completely out of my control, can weigh me down. They can weigh us all down. In a way, this is good because it is evidence of a bond the Lord has for us. We share in His suffering over these events as much as we share in oneanothers’ suffering.
Still, in all the complexities of a world I do not understand and do not truly belong to, because I belong to another kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, I take enormous comfort in knowing that Christ is supreme and sovereign over ALL realms.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,the world, and all who live in it.