Muslim praises Christian ‘angels’ bringing tsunami relief
Edavanakad (ENI). The head of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Samuel Kobia, has concluded a visit to India by laying the foundations for a disaster shelter and community centre at a Muslim-majority village in southern India hit by the December 2005 tsunami. The multipurpose disaster shelter is being built by the Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), the social welfare wing of 24 Protestant and Orthodox churches in India.
“God sends his angels in times of disasters. These are the angels God sent to us when we stood stunned unable to decide what to do next,” said V. K. Equbal, the Muslim village council president, with his gaze directed towards the Christian dignitaries on the platform. [ Ecumenical News International -07-0150] 21 February 2007
The real test of Christian love is not undertaken with words but in deeds.
Jesus, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, puts up the ‘other’, the despised Samaritan, as the model showing the love of God – a not-so-subtle rebuke to his questioners who thought they knew all the right, theologically correct answers (in their heads).
Perhaps for followers of Jesus in our age the players are reversed – the wounded one in need of assistance is now the ‘other’ – the refugee who cannot prove her story, our maligned Muslim community or our indigenous Australians – and the challenge for the follower of Jesus is not to ‘pass by on the other side in ‘theological correctness’, but to stop and lift the ‘other’ and pay for their recovery. This is the ultimate evangelical act because it reveals the heart of God.
One thought on “Angels of Other Faith”
While I go along with the sentiments expressed, I find their frame of reference somewhat narrow.Religions other than Christianity also have the ethic of altruistic love, and even the classic Christian formulae are Jewish. Buddhists, Hindus and Jains share the principle of ahimsa or non-harming. In Buddhist terminology this negative is translated into the positive, metta. I think Muslims will also make similar claims to an ethic of love.So while my friend, Geoffrey, has couched his argument in terms of Christian love and the Christian ethic, and while this is an appropriate way for a Christian to speak, particularly to other Christians, we do need to bear it in mind that this is a more widely held principle. All of us can do with seeing, as Geoff does, 'theological correctness' as often incompatable with the love ethic our religious founders have taught. As the Buddha put it, we are not in a position to say, Only this is right; all else is wrong. Align this conviction of rightness with ideas of divine revelation and the will of god, and we barge out on to slippery ground. Much evil has been done under the conviction of being right.Meanwhile, I have to give it to the Christians, or to the Christian social activists, that they are good and generous at exercising this Christian love, and often better organised about it than others.I publish this comment on Geoffrey's blog because I know him to be a man of love.