Two days ago, our city of Stockholm was struck by a terror attack killing four people and wounding others. Still fresh in our minds was the gas attack in Syria last Tuesday killing at least 50 people, including children.
Today, as we gathered for our Palm Sunday celebration, there was a bomb attack on two coptic churches in Egypt, killing at least 40 people. They too, were gathering to celebrate Palm Sunday.
How can we sing, dance, wave our palm branches and welcome our Messiah while our hearts are sad? In what way is Jesus really King when innocent people are slaughtered?
This is my encouragement for you today: We welcome our Messiah because He won against all the powers of darkness and destruction in our world and in our lives. Not by means of terror, power, violence, fear or intimidation. But with the ultimate sacrifice of his own blood. That is our reason for hope.
“The thief´s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” (John 10: 10-11)
...I hear you. The pain is real. The gut-wrenching anger at the loss of innocent lives. The continued presence of evil. Jesus himself wept for those that would not come to accept the kind of peace that He came to bring (Luke 19:41).
But the hope is real too. It allows us to see beyond terror, to believe in a good God and to see goodness in people around us. It allows us to be bold and fearless because we are part of a bigger narrative, one of which we already know the ending.
And as tens of thousands of Stockholmers gathered in a demonstration of love today, presenter Rickard Sjöberg found the perfect words to end the gathering when he quoted Martin Luther King: “Hate does not drive out hate, only love can do that.”
In the sea of flowers left behind in memory of the victims of the terror attack in Stockholm on 7 April, there is a note saying "goda grannar" (good neighbors) showing a church and a mosque in the skyline.