Reflections on how Christians help each other to grow and mature in loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter and Five Years of War

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!

The resurrection of Jesus Christ signals God’s victory over the powers of sin and death. In his passion and death on the cross Jesus took the very worst of the world, all of its sin and evil, into himself. He bore the brunt of our evil and destroyed its power to control and manipulate once and for all. In the process, he suffered a most awful and humiliating death. He rose on the third day to give the world life as God intends; life free from the powers of sin, fear, and death. When we say and celebrate, “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!”, we claim the reality of that resurrection life for ourselves and for the world for which Christ lived and died. We are set free to live and die for that same world. This is the good news Christ gives us when we remember and celebrate his passion and resurrection.

We read in the news that the 4000th US soldier was killed in Iraq over the weekend. While Christians in the US were celebrating the Paschal mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection the 4000th of our sons and daughters serving in the military was killed in action. While Jesus’ death and resurrection did indeed defeat death, death remains very real and painful.

My congregation recognized and gave thanks for the safe return from Iraq of one of our young men. He is a Marine who served in Falujah. We praised God for his service and for his safe return to his family and home. At the same time we acknowledged that he will soon be re-deployed. But no mention was made of the 4000 soldiers and marines who will not be returning to their loved ones. Nor did we acknowledge the countless numbers of Iraqi children, women and men who have been killed and displaced by the war.

It seems the US church loves to celebrate God’s goodness and grace that is profoundly revealed in Christ’s death and resurrection. But we are silent in the face of suffering and death all around us. The church is particularly silent when it comes to the war in Iraq; this completely unnecessary war. How can we celebrate resurrection when we are silent and blind to so much suffering and death?

Imagine what could happen if all the Christians in the USA stood up and told the President that we will no longer sacrifice our daughters and sons to his war. Imagine what could happen if all the Christians in the USA stood together with one voice and cried out in the name of the Lord of Life, the one who is the resurrection and the life, “STOP THE KILLING NOW!”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

STOP THE KILLING NOW! Add to the war, the numerous uneeded abortions, drug deals gone bad, family killings due to depression and other illnesses... If we would pay attention to all of the "senseless" killings and raise our collective voice, we wouldn't have time to raise our voice for anything else.

I long for the end of all war (Maranatha!), but as long as we live in a fallen world, it will continue. We have the freedom to speak out and protest all we want - thanks to others who have fought previous wars on our behalf.

We need to hear more of Christ. Too many of us sit in the pew and keep our "faith" to ourselves - it's a private thing, don't you know. That's one of the major things killing us today. We don't tell the good news enough.

7:48 AM

Blogger Walker said...

It is turning out to be a waste of our time sorry to say.

Nice blog.

7:19 PM

Blogger Andrew C. Thompson said...

My annual conference publishes an independent, bi-weekly newspaper that is widely read by long-time, deeply committed Methodists around the state. What is most interesting to me about any article, op-ed, or letter to the editor that is written suggesting that the war has been a disaster is that it is always met with a flurry of responses from readers who either imply that such criticism should not be made or accuse the original writer of not being patriotic.

In the case of the bishops' statement about ending the war not too long ago, many old-time Methodists (all men, as I recall) wrote letters to the editor threatening to leave the denomination because of the statement the Council of Bishops had released.

There is a lot you could say to this on a whole bunch of levels. But what is most frustrating to me is the lack of the church to engage in theological or biblical conversation about issues of war and patriotism. Instead of the kneejerk response that criticizing the war equates to "not supporting the troops", why can't we talk about the troops we love and that we wish hadn't been sent to fight in an unjust war under false pretenses?

Just war advocates (and I suppose I count myself as one) in particular should be frustrated at the tendency on the part of much of the public to clamp down on any debate about the merits of this conflict. I suspect that the rhetoric about supporting the troops has something to do with the trauma of how Vietnam veterans were treated on their return home, but I did not see that in person and am only guessing.

12:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Blog.

I've found a militant atheist if you want to try and help him; he's at:

GBWY, James

4:43 PM


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