13 April 2017

"Evil cannot overcome evil"

(Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, The Stations of the Cross of Nonviolent Love, PDF file)

So, apparently, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). God wasn't content to leave the world in this lamentable state, but, as Eugene Peterson puts it in his version of Romans 3:23-24, "Out of sheer generosity [God] put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ."

This wasn't good enough for the power structure of the time, who decided that there was nothing for it but to arrest, torture, and execute this dangerous bearer of Good News.

Tomorrow we commemorate this execution.

That is, we commemorate this one particular execution, pausing for a moment before we continue to permit, finance, and even defend our desire to continue our messy, sinful, deadly ways.

Charles McCarthy: "The use of evil means to conquer evil is wholesale fraud in the economy of salvation." Let's take the impetuous dispatch of 59 cruise missiles to a target in Syria, each missile bearing 1000 lb of high explosive. Under the U.S. Constitution, only Congress has the power to authorize acts of war, but these representatives of the people seem uninclined to discipline their president's use of deadly force. In effect, we seem unable to stand in the way of this sort of lethal tantrum.

Christians! Let's resolve to commemorate our Lord's execution by, once and for all, actually believing that he came to free us from this vain cycle of violence and retribution. Let's withhold our approval, and pray for opportunities to stand in the way. We won't all act in the same way, we won't all act simultaneously, and we certainly won't agree on every detail of such a resolution. But each of us can ask God to show us how to overcome our functional atheism, our cynicism and lethargy, and finally reject sin.

Let the whole world see that we are a people who have set our faces against cruelty, against revenge, against the pretensions of power. Think of the fresh credibility for our evangelism!

Maybe this is a call that is utterly unrealistic. But I wonder why. Who can explain to me why, after experiencing conversion and communion, we should obey the principalities and powers that have tried from time immemorial to persuade us to hate and kill? Why should we be content with anything less than at least a modest, experimental, tentative, incremental attempt to reflect the glory of God?

James Tower explains why he is a conscientious objector. (Russian translation.)

Dorcas Cheng-Tozun: Why corruption is an urgent justice issue.

Lynn Gazis-Sax on war, trust, and becoming president.

Moscow Friends Meeting's clerk, Misha Roshchin, among others, is quoted in this article on the Jehovah's Witnesses trial in the Russian Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Russia's independent truckers battle for their livelihood.

Holy Week dessert from Grace Laxson:

Grace Laxson :: Pass Me Not from Antioch Church on Vimeo.

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