I woke up today around 8.50 am to the devastating news about the bombings happening in 3 churches in Surabaya, Santa Maria Catholic Church, the Indonesian Christian Church and the Pentecost Central Church. One of the church, St. Maria, was the church my close friend’s grandpa went to each week. He was there among the masses, and gladly is now safe.
The bombings seemed to be arranged almost very organized, only minutes between the other bombings. A lot of my mom friends live in Surabaya so she kept the family informed through messages she got in her social media. We turned the television on and tuned in Metro TV to get the latest update. I deep down cursed all the perpetrators of this horrifying event and everyone being involved in it, using terrorism as an act to ‘protect’ their identity, whatever it is.
Days before the bombings, the media had constantly talked about other sad and heartbreaking news about terrorism, the one happening on Mako Brimob last Thursday, robbery happening in Cileungsi, this, and now the terrorists who just got arrested after the shooting happening in Cianjur just hours after Surabaya bomb attacks.
I still had to go to church on 10 am with my youngest brother, so I got ready and went to the church in my neighborhood I used to go to. My parents attended the earliest service and told us not to be scared with the news spreading around.
The church was expectedly a little bit vacant than how it usually was, the 10 am mass is usually the one with the most people attending. But there were not much people, and I noticed there were a couple of police officers who were standing buy in some locations, spreading around the church.
The atmosphere inside the building was also tense, and throughout the mass, every time there was any loud noises, mostly from the kids who were running around and fell over, people got triggered and started looking around to find the source of the noise.
Let me tell you, it was actually not calming to be in that kind of environment, where people were always aware and awake, in a place where we all used to feel the happiest and safest in. But the atmosphere was quickly changed when it was time for our beloved pastor, Romo Ben, to give us homily.
He talked about the Bible verse we were reading today, which was about the Ascension of Jesus Christ. He spoke about how we who believe in Christ had been cleansed by Him and now live along side with Him through His salvation, and therefore should do as what He always told us to; to love and take care of the others.
We as believers who were faced with this situation should not feel scared or afraid with this, but to pray for them, for all the victims and for the perpetrators too. Christ taught us to love our enemies and forgive those who had wronged us.
Romo Ben told us not to seek revenge or try to strike a certain group, religion, race, etc. He told us to pray, and to restrain from posting any provoking pictures or status to spread hatred. “You can’t fight fire with fire, you can’t fight hatred with hatred. Fight with love, because that is what we all actually need, what they actually need. Love,” he said.
I immediately took my phone from my pocket and typed away everything he said. I felt like as cliché as it is, we do need to spread love. When event like this happen, you can see people being angry and sad, and it is okay express it through social media. But we can never feel afraid. We should not be filled with hatred, but to forgive and pray for the victims and most importantly, the perpetrators.
After homily, we all seemed to relaxed a bit and by the time we all had to shook hands and do Salam Damai, we were all smiling again and shaking each other’s hand, and it warms my heart so much on how much what Romo Ben had said today affect us. We didn’t look scared or tensed anymore, and until the mass finished, things went smoothly.
I can’t imagine a lot of these little kids in Surabaya, waking up excitedly to worship Lord, wearing their favorite clothes and batik, their bag along with their Bible in it, to only become the victim of these heartless people. My heart ache so bad reading the news and watching the live report on the television.
It is never okay to use anything as a justification to kill somebody. Beliefs should make the people of it to live a peaceful life, not to justify yourself doing harm and be cruel. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “Most people today want a religion which suits the way they live, rather than the one which make demands upon them. Religion thus becomes a luxury like an opera, not a responsibility like life.” And I agree so much.
Attending the mass right after the chaos today and listening to what Romo Ben said really do regain my faith in humanity. That even in the midst of this chaos, we have to realize that there is a way out. We as humans have the power to regain back humanity. By fighting against terrorism, not sharing any pictures of the victims, not starting any online war with other groups, or creating new speculations about the event.
It is normal to express our deepest condolences and pain in social media, to remind people not to split but to stand up together fighting for terrorism, to keep yourself updated and tried to help by donating blood or transferring money, or as simple as praying, but it was never okay to comment anything unnecessary, calling it as a drama, or as a deception from something else. Ultimately, it was NOT okay to use this sad event to defend your own political interest (that include your stupid tweet, Sir, you know who you are).
I just can’t comprehend the amount of hatred a person can have towards others, to the point where they think ending their life and killing others as something holy and an act that would preserve the name of God. They want us to feel afraid, but in the end all they did was to make us stronger and regaining our faith on our belief in spreading love. We didn’t get on their level at all.
My deepest condolences go to all the victims and their family. I hope everyone who are hurt heal quickly and get well soon. I hope you don’t have anything towards the people who hurt you, but love and mercy, and the capability to forgive them.
Lastly, here is a Bible verse that I found earlier today, which I think resonates a lot with today’s event, from John 16:2: “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.”
Kami tidak takut, kami muak.