Brothers and sisters,
As we go through this month’s Addenda, please let us take a moment to pray for Christians in different parts of the world who are facing persecution, hatred, tyranny and all manner of government censorship. The Easter bombing in Sri Lanka is a chilling reminder that the world will do anything to deny and impugn the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For 2,000 years, the agents of darkness have remained uncomfortable with the resurrection of Jesus. To the Jews it is a stumbling block, to the Gentiles, it is foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23), but to us Christian scholars, it is the hope for mankind and the key to all knowledge and wisdom.
Early on that Easter morning, Caroline Mahendran, a Sunday School teacher at the Zion Church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, asked the children in her class a crucial question: “How many of you are willing to die for Christ?” The entire class raised their hands. She looked around with satisfaction and left to join the main service. Just around the corner, the television camera caught a young man carrying a bag and walking briskly down the streets towards the church. He didn’t seem to have a care in the world. He met a mother and her child on the way and paused to pat the child on the back. Nobody would have suspected that this gentle-looking Muslim was a human bomb. A few minutes later, the explosion that followed was deafening…and half of those children died.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (Matthew 10:28).
Of course, the bombers caused indescribable grief to many, but they ushered those children into the eternal and loving hands of their Lord and Saviour.
In our various universities, the bombs of Sri Lanka are staring us in the face and the question of that Sunday school teacher continues to reverberate down the corridors of history: how many of us are willing to die for Christ? Are we willing to mentor our students and colleagues and make Christ incarnate in their lives? Are we prepared to reach out to our communities with the sacrificial love that Jesus showed on the cross? What is our role as Christian scholars in a world of hate?
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
Dear scholars, although we are daily beleaguered by the burgeoning forces of secularism, although the bombs of atheism and relativism continue to explode in our school curriculum, although the bombshells of scepticism and cynicism are daily planted in the womb of our civilization, the victory of Christ on the cross is a reality that can never be erased. We must continue to be exemplary in character and learning. We must never be ashamed of our faith. Let the life of the risen Christ be manifested in our teaching, research, and service. And let us demonstrate in our works the eternal truth that “He is not here: He is risen!”