The night is coming; the day is almost over.
In light of this week’s world events…
I was saddened to see Americans dancing in the streets over the death of an enemy. They were not celebrating the end of a dangerous, hard-fought war, as our grandparents did at the end of World War II. They were reveling in the death of a man. Osama bin Laden had set himself up as the arch-enemy of all that is Western, all that America represents in the world. He instigated the deaths of thousands. He followed a skewed and bitter faith. It brought him to an ignominious and grim end.
So you think you can tell heaven from hell, blue sky from pain…
did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts…^
Some of us rose up in peace against this hate-filled exultation and violence-mongering. We offered scripture, particularly the Beatitudes of Matthew chapters 5-7. This is the place where Jesus tells us how to live in this demon-haunted world. It is our handbook for behind enemy lines; it is the blueprint for the heavenly city we are to start building in our hearts; it is the peaceable kingdom for our souls to inhabit here and now.
Peacemakers: This is the beginning, maybe the beginning of the end. Keep going, keep posting on facebook, keep writing blogs and notes and ejournals. Share them.
We will be attacked, belittled, harassed, denied, hated, cursed, ignored, struck down, misquoted, misrepresented, misjudged. This will not stop us; it must encourage us.
Those who love this world, and hate the Kingdom, will attack everything we say and do. They will claim those we revere are fools; they will refuse to believe truth and evidence. They will attack ad hominem, both the peacemakers and those who we quote, those we follow, those we trust. So far we have seen “Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t write the quote you are using” in response to one of his eloquent peacemaking sermons. (Yes, he did; it was quickly located amongst his published writings.) The quote went viral on facebook and the blogs. Deniers from weighty online magazines shot it down, and they were wrong. They went with the sensational denial story and lost, to a ragtag unorganized group of online Christians. I have been belittled and attacked for posting Cat Stevens’s peace anthem, “Peace Train” with allegations that Stevens, now a Muslim, was involved in a fatwa against Salmon Rushdie. Stevens (now Yusef Islam) a diligent peacemaker, did not offer to finance that fatwa nor did he support it in any way, and was the victim of slander back in 1989 over this matter. The BBC has links to the true story. A lot of this sort of hyperbole is rife with racism and ethnic hatred; Stevens is a Londoner of Greek background who converted to Islam.
The Peacemakers with whom I am associated are Quaker, Anglican, Episcopalian, Orthodox, Mennonite, Anabaptist and Catholic, along with others. Some of us are Plain. We are united in serving God in His Kingdom. We are committed to showing His Way.
I am expecting many more times like this, when we will have to answer the Holy Spirit, go forth, and show the Light. They will come more frequently. I don’t think we should pull out, retreat (more than we must) and live isolated. I don’t think we can, for the Holy Spirit will open our mouths and push the words out. We will try to flee, but God will drop us in Ninevah anyway. We can turn off the phone, the computer, the internet, cancel the newspaper and refuse to pick up the mail, but the Holy Spirit will still nudge us and lead us to where our voices can be heard, and need to be heard.
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, that I will have mercy and not sacrifice.+
Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.*
^Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here”; +Matthew 9:13; *Matthew 5:9