Michaela and Bala, The President and Vice President of the Methodist Conference, were deeply saddened by the news of the bombings in Sri Lanka. This is Bala’s country of birth and these atrocities affect us both deeply and seem especially cruel on Easter Day.
As Christians worldwide rejoice on the day of resurrection, we also mourn for all who have lost their lives in churches and hotels today. We offer prayers and send greetings to our sisters and brothers in the Methodist Church, Christians and and all people of faith and good will in Sri Lanka.
We call for respect to be accorded to all religions, their worship and their festivals and we commend the ongoing, respectful work of the congress of religions and the NCC. All religions oppose the taking of innocent lives and we affirm the work of local inter faith groups in promoting positive action based on our shared values.
We invite all people of faith to speak out against violence, be it name-calling and stone-throwing as in Anuradhapura last week or senseless bombing as on Easter Day in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.
Methodists have contributed to the building of a caring, healthy and educated society in Sri Lanka for over 200 years. It pains us to see attempts to force change through acts of violence against innocent people. We therefore commit ourselves to continuing support for peacebuilding and reconciliation whenever and wherever we can.
A prayer for the people of Sri Lanka, written by Steve Pearce, Partnership Co-ordinator for Asia and the Pacific, World Church Relationships of the Methodist Church.
Creator God, who loves peace and concord,
We bring before you the people of Sri Lanka.
Just as your Son suffered betrayal and agony on Good Friday,
They have faced brutality and violence on Easter Day.
May the church and hotel communities who have faced attack, find reassurance and healing;
May the bereaved friends and families, find consolation after tears,
May those who believe terrorism changes things, discover the power of love and hope.
Loving God, who hates nothing you have made,
We bring before you the divisions we have created,
Ethnic, religious, national, class and many more.
May we be hopeful rather than harsh,
May we avoid the barbed word in favour of affirming phrases,
May we offer a smiling eye rather than an uncaring glance.
Compassionate God, who brings healing and peace for all,
Look now on the bereaved, the injured and the fearful in Sri Lanka.
We pray in the name of Jesus, friend and companion.