The news over the weekend has been dominated by the horrible terrorist attack in Paris, which took place Friday night in the City of Light. At least 129 people lost their lives and 100’s more were wounded. For helpful background on ISIS check out Max Anderson’s weekly reader. And for some general commentary, Jim Dennison’s Monday morning post is worth the read. Here I want to entertain 3 faith and work related responses to the events in Paris.
3 Work-Related Reflections on the Paris Bombings
- Appreciation for the Work of Others. An attack of this scale highlights the important work of the emergency services, the police, and the government—each sprang into action and mobilized to confront the threat and care for the wounded at multiple points across the city. By Monday morning, the finger pointing had begun (warnings from various quarters). It’s impossible for most of us to even venture a guess as to whether or not there was enough intelligence to prevent this type of destruction.
Prevention issues aside, from the decision of the French President to keep the soccer match going so that spectators would be safe inside, to the actions of law enforcement and medical personal, good work mitigated the effects of this tragedy. God provides for us through the work of others, none of us an island. One response to the attacks in Paris is to appreciate this reality.
- Adjust To The Sobering Reality that So Much of What We Work For Can Be Swept Away. Here in New York City, we work hard all week long. To be able to go out and relax on a Friday and enjoy the work of others (restaurateurs and artists) is one way we enjoy the fruit of our labor. It’s terribly sobering to see how quickly a much-deserved evening of relaxation and replenishment can be stolen away.
In John chapter 6, Jesus is recorded to have said, “work for food that doesn’t spoil.” The Apostle Paul wrote that we should overflow in the work of the Lord because our Labor in the Lord is never in vain.
What is the antidote for a world in which all our hopes can be swept away in a sudden violent turn? Could a helpful response to Paris be living a God-centered view of work–having this sense that we’re leaving it all on the field each day with work for him, work that in some way will matter for eternity?
- Resist the Fear to Abandon Cities for Safety. Cities involve concentrations of people, cultural symbols, and iconic places. They are target rich if you’re a terrorist. In New York, we know this all too well. If life is about working hard so you and your family can be safe and comfortable, perhaps its better to abandon cities and head for the relative safety of the suburbs. A mass exodus from the US cities in the later half of the 19th Century, resulted in the gross underrepresentation of faith in the centers of cultural power. Strategically it was a wrong move. With the terroristic threat rising, recent urban settlers could be tempted to make the same mistake. Our forbearers in faith, faced the same choice.
As the Roman empire collapsed, cities were places of disease and corruption. Yet it is was the followers of Jesus who stayed, who helped the pour, and who cared for the sick at the risk of their own lives. This is called being incarnational, following the model of Jesus—who gave up his comfort, safety, and honor to suffer along with and for our world. Staying engaged in cities through work and play is a third way to respond positively to the attacks in Paris.
How about you?
Any work related responses to the tragedy in Paris?
By Moyan Benn, https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/5237956755 License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode