[Anglican Media Sydney] The Scriptures teach us that God is a sovereign and just God who rules and weighs the affairs of the nations (e.g. Psalm 99). We are also taught to pray for "kings and all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
The outbreak of war in Iraq constitutes a solemn moment, with many dangers and threats and potential for great human suffering. There are strongly held differences of opinion about our participation in this war. For my own part I remain unpersuaded that we ought to have committed our military forces, but I recognise the limitations of my judgment and the sincerity of those who differ.
How should we respond to the present situation as Christians? What is important now is that Christian people everywhere be united in praying for a speedy and just resolution to the conflict. We should also be praying for our military personnel and for the people of Iraq. We need to ask God that good and just government will be the outcome of the war in this unhappy country. Since the government has alerted us to the threat of terrorism we should also pray for God's protection against those who would attack us in our own country.
We should recognise also that this is not a war against Islam either at home or abroad. In particular, the Muslim people who live amongst us have all the rights of full citizens of our country, and deserve our respect, concern and practical demonstrations of love at this time.
The Bible teaches us that both individuals and nations are judged by God. It would be right to pray for his mercy on us all and ask him for his righteous wisdom, particularly for those who have the responsibility of leading us.
The advent of war has brought fear and division into our community. It is right to remember that the government is God's agent set over us for our good and that our military personnel are obeying the lawful authorities (Romans 13:1). It is important that we do not blame them for this war whatever our views may be. Finally, in the midst of fear and anxiety we ought to remember that the Lord rules over the affairs of human beings and that we may trust him and his wisdom at all times.
Peter F Jensen
Archbishop of Sydney