Sri Lankan churches kept closed week after bombings, pastor forgives terrorists
Most Sri Lankan Christians stayed at home to worship on Sunday 28 April as churches shut their doors after advice from the military and police to not gather in public.
Many knelt before their TV sets to follow a church service broadcast live.
About 250 people were killed when Islamist suicide bombers struck three churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
The senior pastor of Zion Evangelical Church, one of the churches that was struck by one of the suicide bombers, delivered a powerful message of forgiveness.
Thirty worshippers including 14 children were killed when Zion Church, in the city of Batticaloa, was attacked.
In a video posted on Facebook on 26 April, Roshan Mahesen said, “As the senior pastor of Zion Church Batticaloa, the whole congregation and every family affected, we say to the suicide bomber, and also to the group that sent the suicide bomber, that we love you and we forgive you, no matter what you have done to us, we love you, because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Mahesen then quoted Jesus Christ on the cross, who said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34).
The pastor has also thanked Barnabas Fund for support that has been sent to the injured and bereaved family members.