Christians from the South Indian churches in Praying for the people affected by the blasts in Sri-Lanka
An Open Doors fieldworker provides an update about the Christian community Sri Lanka, one week after the Easter bombings
It’s been just over a week since the devastating Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people and left hundreds injured. Open Doors workers are on the ground, talking with and worshiping with Christians as they try to recover and mourn their dead friends and family. Our workers have been attending many funerals—these bombings rocked the Christian minority in Sri Lanka. We recently heard from one of our fieldworkers Sunil (not his real name) to find out what he has observed in Sri Lanka, and how believers around the world can pray.
Open Doors: How is the church coping?
Sunil: Many churches and believers are praying for the situation to be resolved. But most people are afraid. A lot of people were shaken in their faith and began to question God and why He allowed something like this to happen (especially new converts). But people who understand God and the way He is working through everything have been unmoved.
Did Protestant and evangelical churches hold services [Editor’s note: Roman Catholic churches did not hold services this past weekend]? Or were they obeying the government not to hold meetings? What did they advise their church members?
The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka [NCEASL] advised churches to follow some safety procedures if they are going to hold their services, such as not parking near the church, not allowing bags inside, changing the time of the service, etc. But some of the mainline churches were asked by their senior pastors to not conduct their services. Other churches did not conduct their services in fear of possible attacks. However, there were some churches that conducted their services as usual.
How do Christians experience the emergency situation and arrests?
Christians, like everyone else, are reminded of the time before our civil war ended. Then, too, we had curfews and police check points. To many people, the events of last Sunday reopened old wounds. Yet many mature Christians who have had a solid foundation in their faith are standing strong and many are coming together to uphold our country in prayer.
Have any houses of Christians searched?
As far as I know, Christians’ houses have not been searched. But the authorities have stopped and searched vehicles. I was transporting some Bibles from Colombo [the capital of Sri Lanka] to my home, and even the taxi driver as well as the police officers at checkpoints insisted on checking every single box. But the Muslim population in Sri Lanka has faced the most difficulty these days as many Muslim politicians and mosques have been under investigation.
We Forgive but Seeking Truth, Accountability and Justice
Honourable M. Abraham Sumanthiran’s speech, posted in the the live document. Sumanthiran is a Member of Parliament and he delivered this on the occasion of the Parliamentary Debate of 24 April 2019, following the Easter Attacks. He shares(part of the speech):
I am a Christian and I share in the sorrow of the Christian church in Sri Lanka at this time. We believe in Jesus Christ, who came into this world, suffered as we do and took the worst of evil onto himself and was crucified unjustly. But he defeated all evil through self-sacrificial love, which is what we celebrate on Easter – Resurrection day. We are grieving – but yet we will not allow hate and revenge to overtake us. I can only quote Rev Fr Jude Fernando, who was celebrating the Easter Mass at Kochchikade St Anthony’s Church when the explosion took place. I quote:
“We love peace. We forgive. Our God is a God of peace, he is not a God of revenge. We love each other, we forgive.”
This does not mean that those who are responsible for this carnage can go scot free. It does however, mean that we do not respond to perpetrators, who acted out of hate, with hatred ourselves. The objective should not be revenge, but seeking truth, accountability and justice. It is the duty of the State to vigorously pursue them and bring them to justice in accordance with the law.
What is Open Doors doing to help?
OD started work in Sri Lanka in 2000. Throughout almost two decades, OD has conducted SSTS seminars and biblical training, supported Sunday School teachers, distributed Bibles and Christian literature, and supplied livelihood and practical support to churches and individuals that have faced persecution.
Our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka need to know they’re not alone and the worldwide Body of Christ stands with them through prayer and encouragement. We need to do everything we can to lift them up in prayer—and to strengthen them in the face of great persecution.
- Pray for the victims and families of victims of the Sri Lanka bombings’ pray for healing for those who were injured and comfort for the families experiencing heartbreaking loss.
- Pray for the church in Sri Lanka to be a source of light and comfort to those who who are hurting, especially as they are hurt themselves.
- Pray for the Sri Lankan government as they investigate. Pray for the Lord’s justice to prevail
- Pray for Open Doors partners in Sri Lanka, that the Lord would give them wisdom as they discern how best to help and minister to the victims
*representative name used for security