A World of Extremes and Laughter
Baghdad is a world of extremes. I now sit yards from St George’s Church. The minute I walk inside its walls and focus on Jesus, I find I am nearly in tears; God’s presence can be felt so strongly here. From that place of peace, to just across the city where on Sunday, a massive suicide car bomb was detonated outside the Police Academy. We were completely unaware until we looked at the BBC News the next day! Several were killed. Their body parts strewn everywhere. People can go from peace to extreme violence in the space of a few city blocks.
I have met with many in St George’s. They are a passionate and committed community full of hope. I love their outlook, their humour and healthy cynicism. As we drove through the city this morning a new building was pointed out to me. I thought, “Perhaps this reconstruction is a symbol of progress?” As if reading my mind one of the staff immediately answered me, “Ha, a new building. Nick, you know what happens when they put up a new building?” I said that I didn’t. “Someone comes and tries to blow it up. Just because!” Ironically we laughed at this absurd situation, two steps forward and one step back.
Of course wanton violence is part of the picture here. But it is only a ‘part’ of the picture. God is painting His parts too. For instance, I went to a home for children today with severe physical handicaps and learning disabilities who were cared for by ladies who have left everything to devote themselves to these little ones. I have spoken to a young Muslim man who is getting to know Jesus here at St George’s. I spoke with Lana, a Kindergarten teacher, who has asked if you would pray for the political situation to stabilise. Why? So the Kindergarten children in St George’s can have a future in Iraq. So with your prayers we can build a future for Iraq and paint a very different picture for God.
Just three more things: On Sunday I saw our food aid distributed to several hundred families. On Monday I saw a tooth extracted in the clinic – ouch. Finally and thirdly, today I decided to look with the eyes of faith. I saw signs of not just hope, but laughter and humour. I see God laughing. I see him laughing at his enemies: laughing at the wanton violence, laughing at those who kill their countrymen in the name of some other god. Through the acts of love and hope I see our God’s laughter is moving through the people of St Georges and God is winning in Iraq.
With love from Nick