Tuesday 4/21/2015 4:02 AM
It seems that every day the news is filled with accounts of war, terrorism and violence. One people group attacks another, killing hundreds. A car bomb explodes in a crowded market with scores killed and injured. A boat full of refugees fleeing war-torn countries and persecution sinks in the Mediterranean Sea and hundreds drown. Innocents die, caught in the crossfire of two rival gangs. Road rage results in death because on driver cuts off another. Police shoot and kill unarmed citizens because they have been trained to shoot first and ask questions later. I could go on.
In the United States candidates are gearing up for the upcoming Presidential election. Republicans attack Democrats accusing the Obama administration of having a failed foreign policy while promising increased funding for the Defense Department. Democrats attack Republicans accusing them of looking out for corporate interests rather than for the interests of the common citizen while promising increased aid for the ever-increasing number of those living in poverty. Even within parties the candidates cast aspersions upon one another, vying for power and an increased voting base.
Rather than warring with one another, both at home and abroad, I long for a time when we work together for the common good. The last two verses of Psalm 120 express my feelings well. “Too long I have lived among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” My aging mother often says that she is tired of hearing about all the violence in the world and she wishes God would simply allow her to die and be removed from it all. It seems the older I get the more I understand her point of view. I do not long to die but I want the animosity, hatred and division to cease.
In the editor’s introduction to Weavings (March/April 1987) John Mogabgab writes, “…there are indeed two worlds in which we must learn to live. One is the world both John and Paul understood to be marked by division, confusion, and hostility. The other is the realm of Christ characterized by reconciliation, understanding, and peace. We are called to live in the first in a manner that reveals that we belong to the second. Specifically, we are sent into the world to show forth the truth of God’s kingdom already present in Christ.” I find it difficult to know exactly how to do that.
Throughout the world the United States is known for exporting war, various types of armaments, and a promiscuous lifestyle in the form of movies and other visual media that many find abhorrent. Unfortunately many Christians are calling for a tougher military response to what they perceive to be threats to our American way. They insist on their right to bear arms of any kind including assault rifles with clips that can hold hundreds of rounds of ammunition. I see these responses to be antithetical to reconciliation, understanding, and peace.
I feel as if we need to rely on God for our security and expend our energies and resources to care for the downtrodden and the underprivileged in our society. We should assist in aiding the refugees fleeing war-torn countries. We should help to rebuild trust in our local communities by insisting law enforcement agencies train their officers differently so that shooting and violence is not the first line of defense when dealing with those who have broken the law. We should ask news agencies to report on the good things that are happening in our communities, in our country and in our world so people can be encouraged to join in the efforts to improve things. Election laws should prohibit any negative attack ads. A candidate can only say what they might do to improve things without belittling their opponents. If Christians behaved in such a manner the world would be a better place and the kingdom of God would be revealed.