Johnny Pilgrem is the pastor of Eglise Emmanuel Etterbeek, a fledgling church plant in Brussels.
“A black day – a barbaric enemy.”
The words of the Belgian Prime Minister on the 22nd of March 2016 as three explosions in the capital Brussels left over 30 dead and 200 injured.
Ever since the perpetrators of the Paris attacks on the 13th of November were tracked back to Brussels the tension in the city has often been palpable. Days of lock-down and the sense of uncertainty means many have spoken of the feeling of being taken hostage in their own city, with soldiers a daily presence on the street corners. Brusselites have been living with fear and are now in mourning.
This Sunday we will be holding our first Easter Sunday celebration, not very far from the location of the bombed metro station. We pray that we would be able to preach lovingly and honestly about the light of Jesus’ resurrection amidst the dark reminders of death. As a tiny church plant just beginning to serve our city by announcing the gospel of Jesus, we’re aware too of the insecurity all around. Our prayers are for those closely affected by the atrocities, and for all of us deeply saddened by the horror so close to home. We’re praying for the authorities, that they may be wise and be able to bring justice to bear (Romans 13:1-12).
The events make us want to pray even more for christians around the world who face the threat of terror every week.
Please pray with us for our city, and for the members of the church plant and all christians here as we talk about the events with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. That we may gently and respectfully share the hope that we have (1 Peter 3.15).
At the same time, the events have made us want to pray more for our brothers and sisters around the world who face the very real threat of terror every single time they meet. The world’s attention turns to Brussels due to the relative security that we expect of a Western capital, yet today there will also have been bombings and death in any number of places worldwide.
The editorials this morning speak of the threat of further terror, and the government has called for three days of national mourning. Pray that christians would lovingly speak of the one who has already beaten death and who calls all to life without sorrow or crying or pain (Revelation 21.4).