ANZAC we will remember
New Zealand continues to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers and our centaury commemoration is now etched as a significant part of our history and so it should. We collect the war stories and shudder as we think of family members and friends who died under the tyranny of war. War meets the worst of our human condition; where soldiers are pawns in a war of power; often disguised with better words such as freedom and liberty. Jesus did predict the wars; in fact he said they must happen in order for his return (Mt 24:6). These wars come and go and some are ongoing. The new phenomenon of war are in the hands of radical terrorists whose targets are like a lottery, and we are all subject. It would be foolish for us to stand on the side line disengaged, and I like the German motto: “we do not negotiate with terrorists”. None of us like war, but all of us want to defend the peace we have.
The other side of the coin are the haunting words of Jesus; “turn the other cheek, love your enemies” (Mt 5:39 -44). It just doesn’t fit to put a bullet through your enemy with love. But are there different spheres of war at work?
It seems to me that we are engaged with war at 3 different levels.
The war against evil or the Devil and his company. (Jn 10:10) This war which seems to me the most crucial one as it is about eternity with or without Christ. This is unfortunately ongoing until we die; however, the promise of peace; hope and love are available through Christ, here and now. This war is spiritual but manifestations are physical.
The war in relationships. The teaching of Jesus is consumed with our behaviour toward others. Turning the other cheek is more than a gesture, but a powerful image of forgiveness. Love has to pierce deeper than friends and family, but must transfer to those who are different from us, be it socially, ethically or culturally.
The war of Nations. John the Baptist told the soldiers not to extort money and accuse people falsely (Lk 3:14). Jesus commended the Centurion with faith, who had good understanding of authority through his command of soldiers (Mt 8). Neither of these stories justifies war, but people get caught in the bigger web of war, beyond their control. In spite of war, our responses to godly values are still at stake and of utmost importance.
We will remember