On earth, as it is in heaven

After the barbaric attacks in Paris and the promise of a ruthless response, one can reasonably ask, “how will this all end?” Is there anything that will bring about an end to what seems to be a constant escalation of violence —– and the loss of innocent life?

A little over a 100 years ago, the Roman Church established the FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING. The acknowledgment of Christ as King came about as a response to the growth of communism, socialism, and Fascism. Church leaders proclaimed that no “ism”, no ideology — not even capitalism — provided the framework for happiness and peace on earth. Christ — the Church said — was king, is king, and will always be king.

I do not believe that we can apply biblical simplicities —- like turn the other cheek, give him your coat and your shirt — to the complexities of today’s politics. BUT, NEITHER DO I BELIEVE that all answers and solutions will be found in military strategy or political slogans. Bombing the hell out of our enemies will create new enemies. We who asked Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” in Berlin, will not prevent trouble by building a bigger, longer wall.

Somewhere and somehow people of faith, LEADERS OF RELIGION, will need to come together to propose and effect a change. This is hard when Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims are fighting one another. This is hard when Christians assert that their flavor of biblical interpretation is God’s understanding too —- and the rest of the poor-misguided Christians need to come to the light. This is hard when theology is used as a weapon.

Each time we pray the Our Father/the Lord’s Prayer —- we pray, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” THY WILL — the desire of the King — the plan of God — ought to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Can God really want us to be at war? Can God really expect us to kill those who disagree with us? Again, self-protection and self-preservation are rights that belong to everyone. The French cannot pretend nothing happened. Something happened and something has to be done politically and militarily.

At the same, time, though, as we proclaim that the Kingdom of God is not of this world, we need to do something, say something, be something different from a purely secular world would offer.

JESUS IS A KING who did not resort to chest-thumping and yelling louder than the next guy. Jesus is a humble, self-confident king who did not resort to name calling.

Jesus is A KING who forgave and allowed for mercy. Just as in a family argument, someone has to step back and tone down the rhetoric.

Jesus is a servant king. As long as people have no home or homeland — as long as people are hungry — as long as children are dying, there will be unrest and revolution. We must help the hurting —- even if we do not like them.

Jesus is a King who loves everyone. We are all God’s children. God loves my enemy as much as he loves me.

Jesus is a king who never wished ill for another. Could God really want me to throw bricks at you?

Right now, there are those who say, “only Christian refugees can come in.” Wow! That would have left Jesus, Mary and Joseph out of Egypt as they fled Herod.

So many of today’s battles seem to have religion intertwined with politics. If only religion and NOT RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY GUIDE US.

HJM

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