Social media and other forms of media are now flooding with reports about terror attacks in Brussels. Air and train travel has been suspended. I was invited, along with other Church of England clergy in the Diocese in Europe to travel to either Nice, France, or to Brussels, in Belgium for a special Chrism Mass. Bishop Robert is in Brussels, and Bishop David is in Nice for the respective worship services. Chrism Mass is where the bishop blesses the oils that are used in the rite of Baptism, in other words, Christening.
I write this from home in Germany. We have had a number of guests arriving and so it was not convenient for me to make the trip to Brussels for the Chrism Mass and I did discover that I had packed some small containers of holy oil in my boxes that arrived from Canada. I decided a couple of weeks ago, that as much as I would like to visit Brussels and join in the worship, it was not conducive to family plans. Of course I now wonder where I would be if I had been traveling to Brussels.
Some have reported that there really are no safe places in the world anymore. It is precisely this reason that it is important to remind ourselves of the need for healing in the world and in our relationships with others. Chrism and the link with baptism reminds us all of our own death and hope of resurrection in Jesus Christ. After watching pictures of people fleeing the airport I pray for God’s peace, healing, and a change in perspective that we might come to live our baptismal calling.
At this moment I pray for those who have been traumatized in these recent events, for those who have died and the family and friends who mourn their loss of life. In the words of the commission – the sending out of those recently baptized – “Will you acknowledge Christ’s authority over human society, by prayer for the world and its leaders, by defending the weak, and by seeking peace and justice?
With the help of God, I will.”