Archives for posts with tag: Boko Haram

Songs in the Night Header for Blog

Injustice. A three-syllable word that has evoked more outrage in people of good will than any other word in our vocabulary. I can’t stand to see it. The Scriptures tell us to denounce it, especially when it comes to injustice against the most vulnerable among us – the widows, the orphans, the aliens, using biblical terminology.

Just today I read that the butchers of Nigeria, the so-called “Boko Haram” thugs, targeted and killed 44 people in the northern part of the country. This terrorist group has killed over 2,000 people in six months, and in their recent raids, they also kidnapped women and children and burned down three churches in their effort to rid the region of religious people other than Muslims.

How can you not be angry at these indiscriminate acts of killing? How can you not protest?

Here at home, a violence of a different sort is brewing. Thousands of children have crossed the border illegally over the last six months and no one seems to know what to do with them. Citizen groups, often led by their own politicians, have organized to prevent children from being brought to temporary housing in their cities and towns. We want to see them deported, the sooner the better. There is talk of diseases, burdens on local school districts, crime, etc., etc.

But very few are speaking on behalf of the children. Who is telling their story? I found one sympathetic voice this week but the majority of people are protesting loudly: “My tax money is paying for this!” “They are bringing deadly diseases!” “How do you know they haven’t committed crimes back in their home countries?”

Now I don’t deny that these issues are complicated and there are no easy solutions. I sympathize with those who have concerns and there is no question that some nefarious elements are operating behind the scene, but how can we not sympathize with the plight of children, some as young as 7 years old? Can we at least for a moment rise above our fears and focus on the tragedies of others?

This Sunday I will talking about the life of a woman who suffered a terrible personal injustice when she was only six weeks old. Fannie J. Crosby, through a medical mistake, lost her vision when she was only a baby. As she grew up and learned of what had happened, she could have turned bitter toward the man whose mistake was the cause of her fate, but instead, she learned to quietly accept her lot and allow God to use her the way she was. She said, “In more than eighty-five years, I have not for a moment felt a spark of resentment against him, for I have always believed from my youth up that the good Lord, in His infinite mercy, by this means consecrated me to the work that I am still permitted to do.”

Fannie J. Crosby went on to write poetry and lyrics of hymns that have been a tremendous blessing and a source of comfort to so many throughout the ages. If Fannie were living today, she would probably be walking among those children who are stuck in no-man’s land right now. She gave a great deal of her time and talent to the “least of these,” the homeless and mentally ill in NYC, and she loved every moment of it. I hope you will join us this Sunday as we look at one of my favorite hymns of all time, “A Wonderful Savior is Jesus My Lord.”

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Get Real with God Blog
So Habakkuk had a complaint. Big deal. We all have complaints. Mine is why I can’t grow enough hair at the top of my head even after I treated it with some expensive “remedy” for over a year now! Just kidding… But isn’t it true that our complaints are often trivial compared to the things that really matter in this world?

So here is a short list, to help you avoid “wasting” your complaints:

1. There are at least 180 little Christian girls in the hands of some really bad guys who follow this ultra- militant Muslim group in Nigeria called Boko Haram. Recently, the entire world was mobilized to find a plane that disappeared on a flight to China. Millions and millions of dollars, expensive aircrafts, specialized boats, sophisticated radars, unparalleled cooperation by big time rivals. Why can’t we come together and mobilize to find these little girls and maybe in the process wipe out from the face of the earth all those hateful monsters who think the way to obey their God is to kidnap pre-adolescent girls and after abusing them sell them as slaves?

2. Recently, the Chinese government demolished a Christian church, a landmark in the Zhejiang province, accusing the Christians of not complying with some building regulation. This is just the latest example of the official Chinese government’s attempts to quash the spread of Christianity. Such “unregulated” church growth threatens the stability of the Chinese government, so they say. So, suppose a mosque was destroyed somewhere in China, would journalists write more about it? Would government officials protest more vociferously?

3. The U.N. came out last week warning the world that 3.7 million people are in danger of starvation in South Sudan, the vast majority of which being children. How has the world reacted? Where is the Reverend Al Sharpton when we need him?

I could go on and on. You get the idea. There are enough grown-up type complaints to last multiple lifetimes. Our world is in a world of trouble and with each passing day those who intend to harm and do evil seem to be multiplying like the rabbits in my backyard. How do we even begin to make sense of all of this?

Habakkuk started with a loud and well articulated concern. When he got the initial response, he was even more shocked – God was going to use a nation more evil than Israel to punish God’s own people! “That can’t be!” he said. Then he sat down and waited in silence for a response.

In the next scene, God is the one who grabs the mike with a vengeance. He reminds Habakkuk of the ultimate end of those who chose the path of unrighteousness. The text is so pointed, you could say that a mocking God makes an appearance. And He is even mimicking His enemies’ taunts and turning their sword against them. The scorn of God, who would have thunk? So in chapter two of this little book, God warns everyone about four pathways to life that will not succeed. The text is organized in four neat sections, which I will develop more on Sunday in a sermon I’m calling “God takes us to school!”:

Lesson 1: Ruthless get-rich schemes will not prosper (Habakkuk 2:6-11).

Lesson 2: Random power-grabbing will not prosper (Habakkuk 2:12-14).

Lesson 3: Reckless indulging will not prosper (Habakkuk 2: 15-17).

Lesson 4: Renegade religion will not prosper (Habakkuk 2:18-20).

And the amazing thing is that everyone of these lessons materialized in history as the Babylonians, having experienced a spectacular rise to power, quickly met a crushingly humiliating defeat, under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, which we clearly see by reading the book of Daniel.

In the end, then, Habakkuk’s complaint was not wasted. In time, God answered him, but He did it His own way. And there is the challenge for us – letting God do it His own way, whether in our lives or in the world.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade