BUSAN: Attacks on Christians in Pakistan will never reduce believers’ faith in Christ, says Bishop Azariah.
Bishop Samuel Azariah has solemnly vowed that,” attacks on Christians will neither dent believers’ faith in Christ and his promises, nor dampen their spirits, and that the Church will look to the future.”
Bishop Samuel Azariah said,” Attacks such as the recent double suicide bombings in Peshawar had left the country’s Christians angry and fearful, but would not shake their faith in Christ.” While speaking to the Episcopal News Service at the World Council of Churches assembly in Busan, the Moderator of the Church of Pakistan said, “The attack was a big shock for the Christians. We lost over 115 people and over 160 people were wounded in just one go; in the middle of worship service. Most of the victims were little children and women.”
“In spite of the beating and the brutal attacks, our faith in the teaching of Jesus Christ, our faith in the promise of abundant life, our faith in the hope of Christ is as lively as it was in the life of the apostles and of the early Church. Therefore we continue to remain in that faith and nothing will dampen our spirits: bombing, murder, shooting will not dampen our spirits or our commitment to Jesus Christ,” he added.
Bishop Azariah went on to assert that since the incident the Church appeared to be stronger in many ways: “After the Peshawar incident we have seen the Churches getting closer, united, and attendance in the worship has just grown. The interest of the youth in the life of the Church has just expanded. I’m not saying persecution should be done to strengthen the Church, I’m just saying what we’re experiencing in Pakistan.”
Bishop Azariah continued, “Christians are still hurting and angry at what was the worst attack on believers in the country’s history.” Nonetheless he laid emphasis on the fact that the Church is also in a time of self-reflection and strategising. “Are we as the Church and as Christians able to live and witness to our commitment and calling, and what we are supposed to do as citizens of Pakistan?”
Strikingly, Bishop Azariah clarified that the reason why he himself lives in this most challenging of countries is: “because the Church has a contribution to make.”