Thursday, December 22, 2011

Soon and Very Soon

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.;  -- Isaiah 2:4 (KJV)
Advent is not just about personal looking ahead to the Messiah's coming.  Advent is also about our communal looking ahead.  We live within a society and culture that has grown addicted to violence as a solution to our problems.  Whether it is addressing terrorism with bombings and assassination, or using the death penalty to rid society of murderers, or gangs offing rival gang members with drive-by shootings, or drug cartels gunning down rival dope dealers, or a husband shooting his estranged wife and then himself, or little Johnny bashing obnoxious Suzy in the jaw we're all prone to look to violence to fix our disputes when we can't get our way any other way.

Christianity sets itself apart from this Darwinian escape to destruction.  In response to a question about the age-old Hammurabi Code of "an eye for an eye," Jesus says, "No.  Turn the other cheek.  Go the extra mile.  Give your shirt and your coat."  The coming of Jesus reminds us of the need to move away from simplistic violent solutions and to pursue other avenues of dialogue and response to thorny questions/problems. 

"He shall judge among the nations..."  We don't think very often that we'll ever be judged, because we would like to believe we are so pure in our motives that nobody could find fault with us.  Yet, we need an awakening from the deep troubled nightmares of fear and trepidation terrorism and violence pose.  The knee-jerk reaction to violence utilizing violence only escalates the conflicts as a rule, puts us on a par with the evil ones who first attacked, and leaves the whole world more blind.  Looking forward to the arrival of the Messiah we can pray for the end of all war and violence.  If Isaiah is to be believed, it will happen, sooner rather than later, O Lord!

Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King.  Save us, Lord Jesus, from ourselves.  Fill us with the peace and love that knows no ending.  Judge us quickly and safely.  In Christ our shield.  Amen.   

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