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A better way

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." Matthew 26.52

Time for a break. If it's not happening as I write, by the time I return (Thursday) Russia may have invaded Ukraine. What a tragic waste of everything this whole saga is proving to be. No doubt, for those caught up in the situation, its consequences are enormous. But at a time when the future of the planet is at stake and while we need to work together to restore global health, to distract the world's attention by such empire-building antics is the height of vanity and irresponsibility. Little concern is expressed for the greater issues of climate change and coronavirus, as missile are fired and politicians scurry back and forth.

One can sympathise with plucky (not so) little Ukraine for its defiance. Yet, should the bloodbath occur, what will it achieve other than bereavement, misery, destruction and who knows how many generations of enmity between neighbours who had so much in common? As one who has served their own military machine, I may have blood on my own hands. Yet, as the cliché has it "one is never too old to learn". But learn what?

When God came to earth in the person of Jesus, he chose a different path. Shunning the trappings of eternity and the powers of heaven, he came in apparent weakness. He lived simply yet generously and without protection. When "the bad guys" eventually and inevitably got him, he went peacefully and gave up his life willingly. His whole purpose was to demonstrate the best in humanity and then to provide the means by which those who would follow him should attain to his divinity. And he made his intention clear, that we should live as he did.

Throughout history a brave remnant has done exactly that. Today 1 in 7 Christians live as "strangers to the world": persecuted for following Jesus, social outcasts, having to meet in secret. And yet that is where the church is growing! It is where we have always been at our best. And it is where the foundations of the Kingdom to come are being built. Is it not time that the rest of us embraced the courage of our convictions and called for an end to the madness? Abandoning the security and influence which military power and nuclear weapons promise will look to the world like madness and will render us vulnerable to the megalomaniac intentions of empire-builders. But is it not the responsible, compassionate and - most importantly - the faithful thing to do?



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