Pastor of Sri Lankan church attacked in Easter Sunday bombings says he forgives attackers
The leader of a Sri Lankan evangelical church bombed on Easter Sunday says he has forgiven the church’s attackers.
“We are hurt, we are angry also, but still as the senior pastor of Zion Church, the whole congregation and every family affected, we say to the suicide bomber and also to the group who sent this suicide bomber that we love you, and we forgive you,” Pastor Roshan Mahesan from Zion Church Batticaloa said, speaking with a ministry in London working with ethnic minorities, including Sri Lankan immigrants.
Zion Church lost 28 church members, including 16 children, on Easter Sunday and another 70 remain in hospital, some in critical condition. Over 250 people were killed in coordinated bomb attacks on several churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
“No matter what you have done to us, we love you. Because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ on the cross said, ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing’. We also, who follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, we say, for the Lord to forgive these people,” said Pastor Mahesan.
All of Sri Lanka’s Catholic Churches have been closed, with services suspended until further notices, according to a senior priest. It is unclear if Zion Church will be open for worship tomorrow, a week after the bombings and only days after the funerals for the victims, though Pastor Mahesan said in his interview that the church will continue to serve the Lord:
“We will stand and continue what the Lord has purposed in our lives. And we will continue to fulfill the call and the mission that God has given us.”
Reverend Priyantha Wijegoonawardena, a pastor and general secretary of The Ceylon Bible Society based in Colombo told Eternity there is a lot of fear among Christians about going back to church tomorrow.
Bible Society is coordinating efforts with the churches to organise trauma healing sessions, “to heal the wounded hearts of affected people in the attacked churches.”
“Please continue to pray for Sri Lanka at this situation, [that we will have] religious unity and to continue to have church services and people will have freedom to worship. [Pray] that the people will have harmony and live their lives in normal way[s],” he said.
Thousands of Australians have attended commemorative services to pray for those affected by the bombings in Sri Lanka. Over 2000 people attended an interfaith candle-lit vigil on the steps of Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral on Friday evening with hundreds more attending a special service this morning at the Anglican St Andrew’s Cathedral and earlier this week at a Uniting Church service in Blacktown, home to a large Sri Lankan community.