We’re living in a time when it feels like everything is ready to fly apart. Our political process is bursting at the seams. There’s violence in our streets, and fear in our living rooms. As if all this weren’t enough, we are faced with an ecological crisis beyond any human experience. The challenges of our age are at least as great as those of any other generation – and that’s saying a lot.
In the midst of all this tumult, it’s hard not to get swept up in reflex and reaction. We see problems and want to fix them. We see injustice and want to denounce it. Yet it seems that the increasing volume of our bitter arguments is only leading us on a path to greater destruction. We watch the dismemberment of our civil society, the arena in which we had hoped for cooperative solutions. Our emotional temperature is so high, it’s hard to imagine finding any unity.
Make no mistake, there are battles worth fighting. But as followers of the risen Jesus, the weapons of our warfare are different from those of the world. Our armor is the humble-yet-confident poise that comes from walking in intimacy with God. Our armaments are love unfeigned, a genuine concern for the well-being of even our enemies. This is no abstraction; it’s very a concrete, ethical concern that moves us to take great risks for the sake of love. Despite the cost, we are commissioned to answer the witness of God in those who seek to destroy us.
In these days of hatred and violence, the Holy Spirit invites us into a new, creative path. It’s a path that goes toe to toe with the powers of selfishness and fear that reign so openly in our society today. It’s a path that penetrates the lies and confusion. It’s the way of Jesus, who confronted the rulers and authorities once and for all, giving us power to become children of light.
There is a quiet voice in our hearts that says, “another way is possible.” Despite all the horror that this young century has offered us, there is a presence deep within us that cries out, “even so, come Lord Jesus!” It’s a fearsome voice, one that calls us into the midst of danger with no protection but the power of love.
Are you and I ready to respond to this invitation? What does it mean to participate in Jesus’ way of love, which overcomes hatred and division through the blood of his cross? How can we prepare ourselves to return good for evil – to speak the truth, even if our voice shakes?