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Wednesday, 05 October 2005

2005 Bali Bombings: A message from the Uniting Church President

In 2003 I stood representing the Uniting Church at the first anniversary service of the October 12, 2002 Bali Bombing, watching grieving families throw their sprig of frangipani and wattle into the memorial pool, aghast at the number of people affected by that terrible event.

Yudhoyono, the man who is now President, gave the principal address promising to hunt down those who had betrayed our common humanity. The economy of Bali was still reeling from the effects of that day a year later. Then last Saturday night, the terrible sinking feeling of seeing again the news report on the bottom of the television screen. How could anyone be so callous?

Again this predominantly Hindu island, with Christians principally involved in the tourist business, and a source of valuable tourist dollars for Indonesia, was considered once more to be a ‘strategic target’ for those whose beliefs are able to use human pain and suffering for their own ends. At 3 am that morning Rev. John Barr sent me a text message to say all UIM workers were safe. But for many families the horror was just starting to unfold.

We pray for those killed and maimed by human bombs in Bali. Oh God, the pain, the loss, the people lost, and the slow realisation by the injured of nightmare and disablement. We feel like helpless observers, wanting to know more of what happened, yet aware that we are intruding on the most vulnerable feelings of people and families laid bare through camera and microphone.

Help us to pray for justice to be done, for perpetrators to be stopped, for support and comfort to be given. Thank you for the sensitivity of doctors and nurses who give all they can to help the healing of broken and penetrated bodies. May there be long term support so that wounded and battered spirits will know the balm of your healing presence bringing light again into darkened worlds.

And Eternal God we seek to understand why this destruction keeps on happening, breaking in upon the unsuspecting, wreaking havoc.

Lord we pray not only for victims but for those who walk into the midst of unsuspecting and innocent people, and with a last squeeze of a detonator, give their lives to destroy others.

In the midst of this horror, tragically done in the name of religion, help us to see beyond the blame and the anger to the danger of using your name for our own ends. May we be true to who we know you to be, Emmanuel, God with us, in the midst of this suffering. In the name of the suffering Jesus we pray.

Rev. Dr Dean Drayton
President Uniting Church