Being a Canadian-Pakistani Christian blogger even I am surprised at how long it has taken for me to write about Peshawar. It's been difficult for me to come up with the right words, to find inspiration from that dark place to speak to you about what has happened to my community --another fatal, sinister terrorist attack.
On the morning of Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 nearly seven hundred people attending their local church (All Saint's Church, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) forever had their lives altered by two unknown savages brazenly dressed as local policemen.
As the service ended, the joyous voices began to filter out of the entrance towards the courtyard before the massive old church, as is customary in our culture goodbyes are not said with quick words in rushed moments. We talk to each other, fellowship with each other. Some making meal-time plans for after church, invitations being given; hugs and smiles all around. Nearly seven hundred people began to file out to start their Sundays.
For many, that morning would be their last.
Suicide bombings are so common in Pakistan that it's just about become a pass-time for the foolish miscreants that are caught up in the religious war waged by extremist clerics; who've run the nation into it's own personal hell fire. This day was no different.
Approximately eighty-five people dead, and over one hundred and fifty people injured --many severely injured, many who I am afraid will not make it given the lack of decent health care in the country as it is. Why? Because they believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, unashamed and wholly.
The images are shocking, but nothing compares to the reality. There in the stench of blood flowing freely from torn limbs, of singed flesh burst apart by the bombs; in the shock of seeing your father, your mother, brother or sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent, neighbour lying unmoving, wide-eyed with the pain they have suffered permanently etched on their face; this is what we --you and I are unable to see in photographs. The large majority of us have experienced nothing like it. No amount of imagination is ever going to be enough to prepare me for a trial like that. And it is the inimitable reality of every poor soul that has ever stood witness to terrorism as that in Peshawar.
Here in Canada we felt the wave go through our community, as it did all over Pakistan. Shock, sadness, anger, and then sadly for many --acceptance. After all, this is what happens to Christians who have the audacity to BE Christian in Pakistan, right? How foolish.
Just try and say to me right now that "persecution happens". YES it does. It has. It will continue. And for me that means I would be a fool not to fight against it. I am not a goat, and in the end I never want to have the need to say to my Saviour what I did for the least of these --He will know.
Remember family, faith without action is DEAD.