Syrian Christians hear call to be peacemakers

Published 10 October 2019  |  
(Photo: SAT-7)
Syrian Christians at the one-day festival

Hundreds of Christians in Syria came together recently to hear a word of encouragement as they seek to be faithful witnesses in a country that has suffered years of conflict.

At the King's Festival, broadcast by Christian TV network SAT-7, they were reminded of the calling to be the "light of the world" and live out love, not hatred.

"Jesus says we're the light of the world. Without light there is no life on earth; light is the source of life for creation," said Archbishop Iliya Tohme.

"Light cannot be seen, but it makes things visible. That's why Jesus said we are the light of the world because we don't serve ourselves but others.

"If we want to be seen, we are not the light. Our light comes from Jesus [who] said we are salt to the world."

The one-day festival was held in Wadi al-Nasara, the Valley of Christians, situated close to the north Lebanese border.

The region has received around 200,000 refugee families from other parts of Syria since the start of the civil war.

Archbishop Tohme, who is the Greek Orthodox bishop of the region, has been a strong supporter of the refugees and used his position to encourage locals to accept and serve them.

Evangelical pastor Nizar Shaheen, who runs Light for all Nations, the organisation behind the festival, said it was important for Christians to model love.

(Photo: SAT-7)
Hundreds attended the King's Festival

"Jesus says, 'By this all will know that you are my disciples: if you have love for one another'. What makes Christians unique is love," he said.

Quoting 1 John 3:1, he described God's love as "eternal, experienced, and sacrificial".

"This kind of love doesn't change with circumstances. Love heals hatred and heals broken societies," he said.

Relief worker Alda Samir, who three years ago felt called to leave the comfort of her life in Egypt to work with Syrian refugees, said she wanted them to know that there are people all around the world who care about their plight.

"My message today is that we cannot allow for one member of the Body of Christ to suffer while the rest are in luxury. I have been honoured to serve in Syria," she said.

"Rest assured that the people of God everywhere care about the Syrian people."

SAT-7 International Chief Executive Rita El-Mounayer said, "We are grateful for the partnerships we have with Christians and media ministries in many parts of the Middle East. These enable us to broadcast such valuable and inspirational events to millions in countries like Syria.

"There and elsewhere we want to support and equip the Christian community in bringing the true peace that the region urgently needs."

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