A Tale of Two Worlds
"An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels." Proverbs 18.1
How many times has this ancient proverb been confirmed by the reckless behaviour of isolationist dictators? Relentlessly pursuing their own ambitions, they inflict indiscriminate suffering and wreak havoc and destruction. The unfolding tragedy in Ukraine is currently eclipsing the more necessary emergencies imposed by the pandemic and climate change, distracting the global community from coordinating our response to both. It is an unwelcome and outrageous distraction.
Some ask ".. but should we be listening to President Putin, trying to understand his motives and taking heed of his security concerns?" Presumably, through our diplomats, we have been doing that ever since he annexed Crimea! Yet there is a deeper question facing all of us, including Vladimir Putin: Whose earth is it any way? Because that is to whom we shall all be accountable for our actions one day...
Listening to Question Time last Thursday, I was impressed with the panel: they debated issues around Ukraine with passion and respect and showed equal amounts of wisdom and restraint. Yet there was no mention of God. I wasn't surprised because we inhabit a secular society. But it struck me how God's absence leaves us without an adequate reference point and without ultimate hope. History tells us that, even if Ukraine, cheered on by NATO and EU, succeeds in repelling Russia, it is only a matter of time before we are plunged into another crisis - if the next pandemic or climate change doesn't get us first!
The Bible in general and the Book of Revelation in particular offer us an alternative vision, a wider and higher perspective. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God has defeated sin and death and expelled the devil from heaven. The evil which has engulfed the world throughout the human era amounts to the satanic death-throes, which the same Jesus will deal with conclusively, when he returns to the world (which was created, through him and for him) to bring justice, execute judgment and restore the goodness to creation, bringing heaven to earth. Now isn't that a future worth living for?