Overcome Evil with Good

My heart is heavy because of the tragic killings and carnage at the mosques in Christchurch yesterday. Shock, disbelief, horror were my initial reactions. Then acceptance of the truth of the reports followed by frequent checking of updates. It seems the death toll will be around 49 lives lost, as well as many injured.

In some way I must process what has happened and respond, it’s essential for me to do this. My heart cries out for the lives lost, the injuries suffered, the enormous harm that has occurred, and for the affected families and friends who have suffered loss.

Comfort and healing began this morning when I found a rare post from “the dune mouse” aka Cybele Moon titled  The Sacred Pause  and I was soothed by her beautiful images and words. This photo really touched my heart and I have Cybele’s kind permission to share it here.


I see a sinuous path through woods with light shining through. The tree trunks are dark and details misty but the ground is warmly lit by the light filtering through. There is darkness and light in our lives and in the world, and our paths are unpredictable. But the light is always there, ready to shine through the darkness, bringing healing, warmth and hope.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

— Both Bible verses quoted here are from the NIV version

From our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern  a message for those directly affected  I have copied a two-paragraph extract here:

“For those of you who are watching at home tonight and questioning how this could have happened here, we, New Zealand, we are not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate, we were not chosen for this violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism, we were chosen for the fact we represent none of these things. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it.”

“And those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages and amongst that diversity we share common values and the one that we place the currency on right now and tonight is our compassion and the support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy”

Not long after I started blogging I found and followed the WP blog  Looking for God in messy places  a blog by Bishop Jake Owensby. Jake is Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana (USA) and has been an immense help and encouragement to me personally. I emailed him and invited a contribution to this post.

Jake’s response at the beginning of his reply was:

“My heart goes out to all the victims, the victims’ families, and the people of NZ. As I’m sure you know, gun violence has become an epidemic in the US. Mass shootings occur with shocking frequency.”

And he included a note for me to share if I wish (as follows):

I am a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States. The House of Bishops had gathered for one of its twice-a-year meetings when the news of the tragedy in New Zealand broke.

No stranger to gun violence and mass killings ourselves, we grieve deeply for the victims and their families. Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry led us in offering prayer for you at our meeting today. Our prayers will continue tonight and in the days ahead. Blessed rest for the departed. Peace and consolation for those who mourn. Conversion of all human hearts from violence to love for neighbor. Every neighbor.

Racism motivated this massacre. Like my bishop colleagues and millions of others, I find this irrational hatred of difference repugnant. I believe that each and every human being is a beloved child of God. There is only one race: the human race. Brown or white. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheist. We are all God’s beloved. All deserving respect.

We belong to each other as siblings of a single family. And there lies the source of my grief. This tragedy has happened not merely to people of a religion different from mine on a far distant shore. You are a part of me. I am a part of you.

As John Donne said, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” With millions of other Americans of every race and creed, I stand with you in your time of sorrow.

God bless you. God love you. God heal your fractured hearts.

— Note from Bishop Jake Owensby  https://jakeowensby.com/blog/

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD
Bishop of The Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana

Posted by Liz, Exploring Colour (2019)

Also, an encouraging post that I read today by WP blogger and fine-art photographer (California) Michael ScandlingNow More Than Ever…

47 thoughts on “Overcome Evil with Good

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    1. I do have hope for NZ Dami.. it’s like much of the country has suddenly woken up and come to its senses. Sadly too late for the 50, but there seems to be a real appetite for change, to do better.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Totally agree. Politics and powerful lobby groups are literally a lethal mix. The system doesn’t encourage forward-looking legislation, only reactive legislation.


    1. Thank you Arnold, for caring and for your prayers. Please pray that there will be patience and understanding between victims’ families, police and the coronial services. Its a tremendously challenging and difficult time right now for all involved.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rowena, I’m pleased and honoured that you’ve chosen to link to my post (I noticed you’d linked just before your message came through). Take care and best wishes, Liz


  1. What a beautiful response to what is a very dark and ugly stain on New Zealand’s history and social fabric. Our hearts are broken. And now must follow the recovery, gradual healing and necessary steps to ensure it never happens again. Thank you for this post Liz. 💔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It meant a lot to me Kay, to read your comment just now and I appreciate what you’ve said. What encourages me at this early stage is that I think we’re probably on the right track for the recovery and gradual healing to happen – I hope this groundswell of goodwill and mutual support at all levels continues!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Liz. A horrific act made more terrible by, as your PM said, the fact that it was in your peaceful, welcoming world. Good people are stunned and send love and healing thoughts your way. Perhaps this will be the one that causes the beginning of the end to such acts. We can hope and pray

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Tina. I hope and pray that our society at all levels will continue in the spirit of love and goodwill toward the Muslim community in the days to come, that we as a country will be sensitive and supportive to their needs over time. Its bound to be challenging over the coming days – we’ll need your prayers for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for a beautiful and sad post, an encouraging and important post. Our newspapers here in Sweden are filled with words of horror over what happened. The photo from dune mouse is so right. My heart and thoughts are with you all – I will always love NZ for the reasons you described. And Jacinda seems the perfect PM. Take care and stay safe ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and encouragement Leya. Everyone in NZ is rallying around the Muslim community and there is a general outpouring of grief, support and love from all sectors of the community. Even one of the gangs did a public haka outside the Mosque cordon this afternoon to show their support. Well attended public vigils in various places. Lots of flowers. People are very sympathetic and want to show their love and support. It’s a terrible time for the Muslim community here, a horrific shock for everybody, but there is no shortage of concern and love and desire to help in any way possible.


        1. Like everywhere else our news headlines are often full of bad things that go on in our country – thanks for the reminder these bad things are the exceptions and MOSTLY what you’ve described is true of life in New Zealand.. it’s very nice to be reminded that our country is a special place to be 🙂


  4. So sad that hate has again taken more lives through violence. I heartily agree with the Bishop’s words. We must exemplify respect and care for all humans, and hope it will catch on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very sad. I doubt that anyone foresaw that an Australian white extremist might come over here and massacre Moslems worshipping in NZ mosques. Deeply shocking. I’m heartened by the love, compassion and solidarity being expressed all over NZ for the victims, their families and community.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Again, I am so sorry this has happened. The photo and words are beautiful and bring hope that beauty and love is strong and can help us make positive change in the world. This must be what we work towards.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so sad and at the same time scared when I think of what is happening around our world. What happened in NZ is terrible, so many innocent people lost their life and I cant stop asking myself, why, why, why… Human are the worst creature on earth, why can’t we take care of each other and respect others believes and live together in harmony. My thoughts are with those who lost their lives and their relatives 💕 Thank you for sharing this post Liz and I love the image that feels like a hidden mystery, a mystery of something good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cybele’s image is truly beautiful isn’t it? I felt so drawn to it and I love how you see a hidden mystery of something good in the image.. you’ve described exactly how I felt about it! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings, it means a lot to me. Despite the darkness we can still hold onto beauty and goodness, light and hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am very saddened by what has happened in New Zealand and for everyone affected by it. Cybele’s beautiful photograph is a reminder that, despite the terrible violence that is done by some, there is still peace, wonder and good in the world and these are the things we must look for and encourage. We must help the light to shine in the darkness…as you are doing here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It I horrible what happened!! My heart is with you and New Zealand and all the families and friends of the victims. It just makes me sick the damage hatred does!! But I love the warmth of the words you posted and that picture is amazing! Keep the light shining! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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