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The Word on the Week

Jihadi John and the French Connection.

‘Jihadi John is dead – long live Jihadi John’.

By removing one Jihadi John with a Hellfire Missile, carried by a drone which was launched from the UK, the US has paved the way for more Jihadi Johns’.   Like the serpent in Greek mythology, the Hydra of Lerna, when one of its heads is cut off it is replaced by two others!

It would be crediting ISIS with perhaps too much organisational ability to say that the events last night in Paris were triggered by the demise of Jihadi John but then again how much of a command structure is required to launch a group of suicidal killers?   No plans for a safe return are necessary as the combatants intend to blow themselves up when their ammunition runs out.

Again we need to consider the religious aspect of the mission.   In ISIS brand of Islam death appears to be the highest value.    This value is enhanced by the number of kafirs (disbelievers) they can take with them.    By any count last night’s massacres can only be an encouragement to their colleagues.

In selecting restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium as places to target people the gunmen appear to be randomly selecting locations where people congregate.   This is unlike the “Charlie Hebdo” shoot-up in January where the magazine’s cartoons were provocative, attracting ISIS warnings and eventually action.

ISIS shooting escapade in Tunisia and the bringing down of the Russian plane in Arabia proved effective in, amongst other things, wrecking the tourist economy upon which these Arab countries rely.    Last night’s attacks appear to have been designed to create fear in the Parisian population and demonstrate how easily the group could target other cities.

Fear is one of our basic instincts.  ISIS black garments with eye slit in the hood are fearful.   Their targeting of Christians (among others) in their deadly campaigns brings us right into Jesus words to his first evangelists who were to go to the Jews, who thought they knew it all, with the good news that the Messiah had come!    He promised them a torrid time.    Christianity always runs contrary to the will of the flesh (St Matthew Chapter 10 verses 17-25).

But Jesus did not leave the disciples with their fears.   He taught them the ‘healthy’ form of fear which is the beginning of wisdom.    “Do not be afraid of them” that is the people you see.  “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” they are limited in what they can do.  There is one to fear and that is God who has the ultimate sanction of hell (verses 26-28).

Does Jesus know about ISIS?   “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” (verse 26).   Does Jesus know about us?   “He sees the fall of the sparrow and even the very hairs of our head are numbered.   So don’t be afraid you are worth more than many sparrows” (verses 29-30).

Then comes the Christian’s mandate for times such as these; “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.   But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Verses 32-33).