Today we woke to the horrific news that the Martin Place siege has ended in tragedy. Police, who stormed the café just after 2am, have confirmed that two of the thirteen hostages and the hostage-taker died with four others hostages and one policeman injured. How do we respond?
Yesterday, as the events began to unfold Mike Baird, the Premier of New South Wales, issued this statement“All my thoughts and prayers are with those members of the public affected by the situation in Martin Place”.
This morning, an article in the Sydney Morning Herald reported on how the thoughts and prayers of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Governor-General are with the families who lost loved ones. This theme was taken up by secular news commentators right across Australia.
We are witnessing that in a time of national tragedy many of our leaders and even atheistic news commentators look to God. This we believe is rooted in the Judeo-Christian beliefs and values upon which our country was built.
The first hostage who was killedwas Tori Johnson, 34, the manager of the Lindt Café. He was fatally shotas he was wresting the gun from the hostage-taker. His heroic lunge to grab the weapon made it possible for some of the hostages to flee to safety.
The second hostage killed has been identified asKatrina Dawson, 38, a devoted mother of three and a highly regarded barrister. She was tragically killed trying to defend her pregnant friend.
Both gave their lives so that others could live. Sacrifice for others is one of the great virtues of our society that points to the influence of the Jesus Christ,
“who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14).
The 50-year-old hostage-taker, Man Haron Monis, was known to police as a self-styled preacher of the Islamic State who was on bail for being an accessory to murder and other offences. This included writing disturbing letters to families who lost sons or daughters serving with the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan. Again how do we respond? Please watch this 3-min video.
Canberra Declaration on the Sydney Siege
Islamic State and other jihadist groups would respond to such situations with hatred, vengeance and violence. Again we can thank God that Christians have the example of Jesus to follow. As He was dying a cruel death that He did not deserve, He prayed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).