Proper 28 – Year A

A wave of fear swept over me the other morning when I heard the news: “Spectacular Terrorist Attack Threatens United States.” Maybe you heard the warnings too.

I got pretty freaked out.

But you know what, I guess this is war, huh?

It appears we are in that first belly-wrenching chapter of war typified by denial, fear, and uncertainty. That first chapter of war when some folks are screaming “Stop it now!” – and other folks are screaming, “Bring it on!”

It appears we’re in a war where the battles are everywhere, and they never really end.

Scary.

It’s tempting to call this an Unnatural kind of war.

But – I’m afraid – this is wrong.

Sadly – war is all too natural to us.

For we are people. And people are pretty much always at war.

And not only on the battlefield of the flesh either. Oh no. You see, physical warfare always gets spiritual — and spiritual warfare always gets physical.

This is the way it works.

This is what Jesus came for.

And you’ll notice he didn’t say, “It is blessed to kill the infidel.” He didn’t say, “It is blessed to kill your brother if he does you ill.”

No, Jesus said, “Love your enemy.” No. The Holy Spirit of God says, “He who hates his brother is a murderer.”

For love is as real as death, and they are at war with one another.

And so are we.

So, the question before us isn’t – “Do we go to war?”

The question is – “how do we fight the war we’re already in?”

Now, when I say “we” — I mean two things: “We human beings,” and “We Christians.”

We human beings are at war all of the time, because it is a part of our nature to be proud and hateful.

— The weapons of this war are poisons, rifles and bombs.

We Christians are at war all of the time too, because it is our Lord’s will that we put an end to our pride and hate.

— The weapons of this war are faith, hope, and joy.

This is why you and I face a dilemma.

We human beings are required to make war-time decisions – but we Christians know that God cares how we fight our fights.
We know we need to plot our course in a scary world at war — and yet we know that God is watching exactly how we do it.

So what can we do?

Perhaps all we can do is look to our Lord – the Lord who came to be just like one of us — and see what he did as he plotted his course in the two front war between Life and Death.

It is worth noting that Jesus never showed us how to fight a violent war. He never showed us how to hate our enemies. He never showed us how to execute the sinful.

It is worth noting that all Jesus did was get arrested, beaten to his bones, and nailed to a tree.

All Jesus did was to forgive the people who did that to him.

All Jesus did was to tell us this was the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Jesus died on a cross for you and me – and then he came back from the dead. And what he said was, “take up your cross, and follow me.”

This is true. Is it not?

Well then I ask you – am I talking politics? Or am I talking about life and death before the watchful eye of God Almighty?

Because the Bible tells us that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. And on that Day Jesus will be our Judge – not Joshua, not the Crusaders, and not Mohammed.

On that day Jesus will be our Judge. And you know, I think he will remember the way we fought our fights. I think he will remember whether or not we showed mercy. I think he will remember if we hit too hard, because we were afraid, and angry, and filled with hate.

Don’t be fooled — We are at war – but as Christian warriors we are called to be merciful, just as the Lord God is merciful.

Amen.

Comments are closed.