From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Monday, August 6, 2012

For of Such is the Kingdom of God.

I love photographs, truly one picture can be worth a thousand words, Al Hassan H. Fahmi, of Baghdad, Iraq took this one. Last Tuesday, a week ago, as a group of children from St. George Church, Baghdad, Iraq, were on their way by bus to church for their communion classes, a suicide bomber left this world for the next as their bus passed.  He was Taliban of Al Qaeda, and the purpose of this bombing is believed to have been an effort to free Taliban members held prisoner in a nearby Iraqi jail.  As the children later related the story to their pastor and our dear friend, Brother Andrew White, they told him that they began singing and praying, because God had delivered and protected them from the blast.  These children know well the explosions of violence which occur daily in Iraq.  In their lifetimes all they have ever known is war.  They were born during war, and its horrors and its thefts of security and peace are constant companions to them and everyone else in Iraq.  Yet the faith in Jesus Christ of these children did not leave them crying and screaming at the death and injuries around them, but because of  their faith, they remained calm as the bus sped on, trying to escape the danger.

They had not escaped at that point however, and another huge blast shook the bus, blowing out all the windows and badly damaging the bus.  Here is Brother Andrew's account of what happened:

From Baghdad, Canon White
Terrible Bomb Blast of Our Children’s Bus and They're  All Alive

Dear Friends,

We are used to of bad days but today it has been in a different league. Central to our work and ministry here are our children. One of the biggest services of the year is when some of our children have there first communion. This service at the end of August. The children prepare everyday with
about two hours of sessions. They all come to church in our bus and are then taken home.

As they were on their way home today they were caught up in a major bomb. The bus was not too badly damaged and it continued it journey. All of children started singing the Lords Prayer. As they were in the midst of their prayer a huge bomb exploded. All the glass of the windows shattered, people fell to the floor injured and one of the teachers was in a very bad way. They were all taken to hospital but were all discharged as none of them had life threatening illnesses. In a normal country there is no way that some of the teachers would have been discharged. One person was hardly breathing and in profound shock. She was brought to the church and I looked after her until she was more stable. Only then could I leave to visit all the children.

It was wonderful seeing all the children. Despite their injuries they were all smiling, their parents were not some were in floods of tears on learning what happened. The fact is that today was miraculous. When you see the state of the bus it is simply a major miracle that nobody died or was more seriously injured. The children knew quite clearly why, they just kept telling me that they were alright because they were praying and G-d was with them and He was.

Many tears were shed and there are huge things still to do and there are people who still need treatment. Please pray for us as we try and recover from another trauma.

Grace, Peace, and Blessings,

While they were badly shaken, and of course needed comfort, they are doing very well now.  A couple of days later, Brother Andrew posted the picture at this link, and I have not been able to escape its captivating message, you won't be either...
I wrote the following poem in tribute to these amazing children, and God's power and glory! 

For of Such is the Kingdom of God

The picture I see shows them smiling and beguiling, love and peace is seen in each eye.
Some would not understand how it can be that these beautiful children do not cry.

Death brushed by these happy young faithful, and from the crowd took nineteen.
Enemies within had brought death, and until the destruction, had remained unseen.

With the first blast of violence, in the bus they began sweetly to pray and sing,
Like Paul when he was in prison in a hole in the ground, and God gave him wings.

Then came the second roaring blast, which left their bus shattered and damaged.
God’s guardian angels brought His protection, to these precious, no harm was managed.

God’s divine knowledge and understanding, we know our children does not always spare.
Even then in life wrecking grief, we know always the sure mercies of His love and care.

This time, while I do not comprehend what hidden wisdom has held back His hand,
I find such faith in their young lives, and inspiration, as they for Jesus take their stand.

This miracle reminds me of words spoken long ago to little children by the one who is My Rock.
When he said, “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, so fear not little flock.”

I sometimes worry about Brother Andrew, he travels the world seeking support for the Christians of St. George, they do not have an easy life.  At any moment their faith could cost them, or someone they love, their life.  You will find links on Brother Andrew's facebook page,  and the St. George's page where you can make your own pledge of support for the work in Iraq, and follow there what The Living God is doing in Iraq.  God's blessings will surely be yours if you keep these faithful in Iraq, especially these beautiful and courageous young Christians, in your prayers.