Christians: Stand up for Jesus

As readers know by now, I am shocked and disheartened by recent world events, particularly the violence we see. I’ve said before that we need to work on our own lives to end acceptance of violence. It is all around us; it is the go-to solution when demanding doesn’t work. It happens on the large-scale when 93 people are killed in one day in Oslo, Norway by a man with homemade bombs and some guns. It happens on a small scale everyday whenever a teenager is beaten for being gay, or a parent hits a child in the name of discipline. It happens quietly with racial slurs and jokes. It happens loudly when a political rally is shouted into an angry frenzy over the issues of immigration and second languages.

I would like to see a large scale dayof peace. This would be a demonstration of unity among Christians, in fellowship with those who are not Christians, for the right to live in peace. We Christians need to step forward as world leaders in the matter of peace. We are the people of Peace; we have the promise of Jesus Christ. “My peace I leave with you.” It’s been done, effectively before. The Civil Rights movement in the USA succeeded with peaceful demonstrations and nonviolent resistance. It has happened elsewhere.

I asked friends on facebook if they would support organizing a worldwide Day of Peace. One said, “Only if it isn’t religious.” Another one said, “Demonstrations don’t do any good. We just have to live lives of peace.” The problem with the first statement is that Christians can’t leave their faith out of things. If we do, we are blocking the Holy Spirit from working through us. After all, our Faith is not a philosophy of doing good and living quietly. It is a belief that God Himself is working to change us utterly and thoroughly, and no part of ourselves or our lives can be set aside from that. The problem with the second is that while people may admire it, they have no motivation to try it themselves, because we make it look as if it is entirely personal, a matter of choosing between equal goods. But Christians, if they read the Bible, can see that that is not the case. We aren’t here to fit in. We are here to stand out.

The apostles stood up in the middle of cities and towns and told the people about Jesus, the Christ, the One who saves humanity from itself. They got arrested and beaten for it, often, but they also, in that witness as well as the witness of Christian life, changed people’s hearts. Following Jesus, they opened the path to God for many. Thousands were moved and joined the people of Jesus. And not once did they say to the people that war would work, that might equals right. Early witnesses in the church (Justin, Origen) emphasize the pacifism – the peace witness – of Christians, who would not even fight against those who would take their lives.

So sitting back and living lives of quiet righteousness may not be enough. My fear is that all Christians will be dumped into the category of people who advocate war and violence; the Norwegian who proclaims himself Christian and then kills innocent government employees, passers-by on the street, and most horribly, teenagers trapped at a youth camp; hawks who hold a Bible in one hand and a bundle of cash in the other, simultaneously quoting Deutoronomy and showering so-called defense contractors with money. Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry are what Christians look like in the public eye. We stand there mute as stones while this goes on.

If you believe that the way of Jesus Christ is the way of Peace, that we need to beat our swords into plowshares, that we need to send our public funds to those who are suffering rather than filling the bank vaults of very wealthy war profiteers, then now is the time. Who would get behind the initiative to have a Day of Peace, initiated by Christians?

It has to be the start of a new movement, to bring the Peace of Christ into the world, as He told us to do. It won’t be a one-time only thing and we get to go back to watching “Die Hard” movies and eating corn chips. It has to be the public proclamation that Christians are here to spread the peace that passes all understanding, the Peace that Jesus Christ left with us.

 

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4 thoughts on “Christians: Stand up for Jesus

  1. Magdalena, this and many of these similar type situations are so horrific. I appreciate your call for Christians to stand up for peace and we should. I am a little confused about your reference to Rick Perry and Michele Bauchman. I cannot speak for them but I live in Oklahoma which has a hunting culture, therefore guns are very common. Hunting skills and safety are taught from a young age. This is not just for sport. There was a year, when venison was our primary source of protein. Yes, our culture also has standards that if you take a life, it is possible you will lose your life. When the rules are clear upfront, you are given a choice upfront to act in an appropriate way or pay the consequences. Romans 13:4 says ” For he (rulers) is God’s minister to you for good. But, if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. I believe this clearly shows God has given the government authority for the death penalty or war if that is necessary. However, the ruler’s will answer to God for their judgements. I’m not trying to be devisive, just to let you know that in Oklahoma and Texas, we are not violent. We just believe in the law and consequences.

    God bless you and keep stating your opinions, I do appreciate them.

    • Thank you for your comments. I can see your side of things, but I fully and truly believe that Jesus Christ calls us to avoid violence and killing at all costs. I would much rather pay for a person to live out their natural life behind bars for their crimes. Otherwise, we are cold-hearted. “You have heard it said, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, but I say to you….” You know the rest of it. Remember, what Jesus taught is what is right for us. He went to his death unjustly. What if the court is wrong? How many times have innocent people been put to death for a drime they did not commit? One is too many times. No, I cannot condone the taking of a human life under any circumstances.

      As for hunting – I’m sure my grandparents would have starved if they could not have hunted. I am not opposed to hunting, and if anyone offers me game, I wil gladly accept. I do not equate the owning of firearms for hunting as the same as capital punishment. That is never the case anyway. I do not condone the keeping of firearms for self-defense, though.

  2. I liked it that Mother Teresa would never say that she was anti-war but always pro-peace. I think the life you are making, and your blog record of the passing days and thoughts, is of itself a witness of peace.
    A day of peace? I like Thick Nhat Hanh’s comment, in his book Being Peace: “From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax and be peaceful, we may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness, when we can walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, enjoy being together as if we are the happiest people on Earth.”
    The book I am writing just now is all about building peace integrally into our daily lives, so that we sow the seeds of peace in our ordinary conversation and ways of being together. The creation of peace is, I think, associated with the practice of kindness.

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