In World War 2 the civilian population in Britain knew what to do when an air raid was imminent. A piercing alarm would sound acr0ss the housetops and that was a signal to head for shelter. Underground stations in London, basements and reinforced rooms, makeshift bunkers in the garden: all provided temporary refuge. One could usually reach them in time, because of the warning sirens.
Today’s enemies are less predictable. We call them terrorists because they strike terror at any time, anywhere and without notice. Holidaymakers in Nice, sightseers in Barcelona, concertgoers in Manchester, are fair game to the perpetrators. This is war, though we are not sure why. All we know is that they are idealists, believing they are serving a higher cause, with a vision of a different world, which can be established only through violence. They strike without warning.
Idealistic terrorists are willing, even eager, to give their own lives for the cause, so no punishment is likely to deter them. It is a sobering thought that democracy, freedom of choice, a welfare state and whatever passes for today’s western ideals, have been dismissed by terrorists. They reckon they are on to something better.
Terrorists aren’t new. In New Testament times the Sicarii were a splinter group of Jewish terrorists, fiercely opposed to the Roman government. They hid small daggers (called sicae) in their cloaks and stabbed both Romans and Jewish sympathisers with them. Some have conjectured that Judas Iscariot may have been one of the. Another disciple Simon the Zealot, could have belonged to another extreme group. Yet it became evident to them that Christ’s message of God’s Kingdom surpassed everything else.
Today’s terrorists mus be shown something far superior to the self-centered, materialistic goals of secularism. Nothing less than Christ’s revolutionary Kingdom will do it. Nothing less than the power of love defeating hatred will do. and that’s a challenge to all of us.
With all good wish