Monday, July 14, 2008

Where God is, there His Kingdom is

"Where God is, there His Kingdom is." Throughout my sleep last night this little thought rolled around in my mind. Not overly profound perhaps, but surely not easy to live out, especially in times of trouble and trial when the temptation surely must be to take the rule of one's life into one's own hand. Pope Benedict XVI in his magnificent book, Jesus of Nazareth (which I have been reading off and on since early May), writes that the last petition of the Lord's Prayer brings us back to the first one. In asking to be liberated from the power of evil, we are ultimately asking for God's Kingdom, for union with his will, and for sanctification of his name (page 167).

This reminds me of a story that was reported this past weekend of Eloise (66) and John (70) Bergen from Vernon, British Columbia, a retired couple had moved four months ago to western Kenya to help widows and orphans in the city of Kitale and to help refugees who had fled a political crisis. They serve with the non-profit organization Hope for the Nations. They had recently moved into their own house on a farm where they grew food for local children.

Last Wednesday, the unimaginable happened, as this elderly couple were robbed and brutalized by several men (two of whom were apparently the guards they had hired to protect them). John was badly beaten by the machete-wielding thugs while Mary was repeatedly raped over 45-minutes. Throughout her ordeal, Ms. Bergen said she uttered a single word, whispering "Jesus" over and over.

But while this dreadful attack would have been newsworthy for the media, I find it significant that it was the forgiveness of this couple towards their attackers that came out front and centre in the reports over the weekend. According to the National Post, Mary said one of the first things she and her husband want to do once they fully recover is to visit their assailants. "When I woke up this morning, I was picturing the time will come when John and I are physically well again," she said. "It's in both of our hearts to go to the prison and tell them about our forgiveness." John said something similar, according to the Toronto Star, ""What we're going to do is go to the prison where the perpetrators are and show them that Jesus loves them and we forgive them."

Where God is, there His Kingdom is.

1 comment:

Jo G said...

While situations like this are terrible, when read about them I am reminded of true Godly mercy and grace, and am reminded of how far I sometimes stray from responding this way. Especially in these days of dealing with our governing bodies.