Once again, the world is witness to horrific violence against a particular religious community. After mourning the suffering inflicted upon Jews in Pittsburgh and Muslims in Christchurch, on Sunday April 21, the peace of Easter was shattered by the horrendous bombings in Sri Lanka. Around 250 Christians were killed and hundreds were injured as they celebrated this holy day.
As a seminary community, we offer prayers of comfort. Our hearts go out to the dead and wounded. We offer our condolences to family members and friends who lost their loved ones.
In March, I shared: “An attack on one religious community is an attack on all of us. Each and every person, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim or atheist, is a child of God and beloved by God.”
Though predominantly Buddhist, Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country in which faith communities have strived to live in harmony. Sadly, we witness Christian minorities being targeted in Sri Lanka, and also throughout South and Southeast Asia, with deadly bombings of churches in the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as attacks in Egypt and in several other African countries.
The mission of UTS to bridge religious and cultural divides becomes even more important at this moment in history. Please join with the UTS community in praying and working for peace, and in seeking to love one another. Let us turn the upsurge of inter-religious violence into an upsurge of inter-religious fellowship, dialogue and care. Let us transcend historical divisions and work together to realize a global community based on interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values.
Easter is the most important Christian holy day, for it celebrates the central event in Christianity, the résurrection of Jesus Christ. The Unification founders, Father and Mother Moon, teach that God’s philosophy is one of non-violence, and that the words, “love your enemy,” are the culmination of Jesus’ teaching. As Jesus did through the Easter event, let us transform a day of mourning into a day of hope, for Sri Lanka and for the world.
Hugh D. Spurgin Ph.D.
President, Unification Theological Seminary