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The Word on the Week

Boys with Toys

We are treated to a regular spectacle of destruction in Aleppo in our TV news bulletins as the combatants use their latest weapons on the population. At the present time Russia seems to have the freedom of the air which it uses to carry out daily bombing raids. On the ground the forces of President Bashar al-Assad plan to continue the offensive until “terrorists are wiped out”.
Part of the problem is the number of terrorist groups involved and after five years of fighting it becomes difficult to decide who to support and who the legitimate targets are. Apparently the US has equipped some of these groups with ground to air missiles similar to the one the Russians used to bring down Malaysian Flight MH17 over Ukraine. It’s becoming like a real life version of a digital kid’s game.
Of course the real victims are the civilian population. With two hospitals destroyed this week caring for the wounded gets harder. Access to food is becoming difficult as the siege of the city has not permitted the latest convoy of humanitarian aid to enter and some of its trucks were damaged by the fighting.
Cease-fire agreements have been broken as soon as they have been made. There is an intensity to the fighting perhaps to secure as many gains as possible before the US election when a new President, inaugurated next January, may not have such a detached attitude to Syria’s treatment of her own people.
Some who read their Bibles a certain way may say that we do not have that long. The Lord’s return is expected imminently. They have seen the signs of his coming and consider them to be, in the main, fulfilled. On the other hand scripture underlined the fact that no-one knows when Christ will return and rather humorously tells us to stay awake! (St Mark Chapter 13 verses 32-36).
Perhaps the most useful advice to follow is that given to Titus, a gentile, who was told how to occupy himself in the Gospel period between the first and second comings of Christ, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Chapter 2 verses 11-14).
St Paul who passed on the advice seems to anticipate our multi ethnic, multi religious society when he says salvation is for all people. There are none excluded on the grounds of race or religion. This salvation cuts through all man made boundaries. It goes to the heart of the matter – the problem of the human heart with its inclination towards evil. It teaches us to renounce the evil and choose what is right. It can do it for the “Boys with Toys” and it can do it for you and me too if we are seriously anticipating his coming again.