On Easter Sunday, three Christian churches across Sri Lanka and three luxury hotels in the commercial capital Colombo were targeted in a series of coordinated suicide bombings. Later that day, there were smaller explosions at a housing complex in Dematagoda and a guest house in Dehiwala. Several cities in Sri Lanka were targeted. At least 359 people were killed, including at least 39 foreign nationals and three police officers, and at least 500 were injured.
Christian leaders have responded to this tragedy as they voiced their prayers and concerns.
Brian Houston, Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church:
I've just heard about the Sri Lankan attacks. A despicable atrocity aimed at worshippers and tourists on the holiest weekend of the year. The world is a sorry place needing the redemption and hope available through the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus.
Darlene Zschech, Senior Pastor of HopeUC & Worship leader:
As we arrived home to the news of Sri Lanka, my heart broke as I am sure yours did too, and the joy of resurrection Sunday became real to us in a different way. I am reminded that this world is in chaos... and that the pure and robust love of God is our only answer. Let Psalm 34 be woven into your soul always, 'the Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit '. We are all in need of a Saviour...Thank God this life is not all there is.
Jentezen Franklin, Senior Pastor of Free Chapel:
This Easter we were filled with hope as we once again celebrated our gift of eternal life and the conquered grave. Yet we grieved the senseless and cowardly attacks our brothers and sisters experienced in Sri Lanka. An attack on any church is an attack on the whole church.
In fact, an attack on any faith is an attack on every faith. I urge every individual across the world who understands the essential right to worship freely and without fear of hostility will offer their prayers and will do everything they can to put an end to ideologies of hate and acts of evil in places of worship. Whatever your faith, whatever your politics, wherever you live-this should be a part of your creed.
Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:
The Easter Sunday massacres in Sri Lanka appear to have come at the hands of Islam. I would advise churches around the world to be on the watch-there will be more killings & attacks against any group or body that represents the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus warned that the world would hate His followers. Jesus said, "You will be hated by all for my name's sake" (Matt 10:22). Join me in praying for the loved ones of all those whose lives were taken & the 500+ injured in yesterday's senseless, barbaric attacks in Sri Lanka.
Jack Graham, Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church:
Today we are mourning with the families of the Christians who were killed in the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. Nobody should have to go to church - especially on the holiest day of the year - wondering whether they and their families will live through the service. But the cold truth is antagonism and persecution against Christians are growing around the world. Millions of Christians across the globe suffer violence, harassment and imprisonment simply because they profess to follow Jesus. Churches in America cannot remain passive while our brothers and sisters suffer. As 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, 'If one part [of the body of Christ] suffers, every part suffers with it.' We must pray for the families of the victims and survivors of these terrible attacks, and we must find ways to meet their needs in this time of hardship.