Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sun. Nov. 14, 2010 (Andre Pekovich)

Andre Pekovich organized a Remembrance Sunday service around scriptures relating to war, conflict and the Christian ideals. "We are at war, we have always been at war," and thus is has been since the beginning of written history. The essential causes for war seem constant: attempted to get what we want, and then ensuring that we keep it. Other religions address this human condition, more often than not by extolling respect and peace, and by noting there are ways to settle difference other than by violence. The story of Cain and Able (Genesis 4) illustrates severe family conflict (leading to fratricide) at the beginning of time, and efforts control the spread of that violence. The Book of Joshua tells of war at more of a national level as the various Jewish groups sought to "share" land already occupied and cultivated by others, but the writers of that book clearly portray Yahweh as the warrior in ways that suggest this was a one-time series, not a paradigm for future generations. The Roman Empire's Pax Romana was imposed militarily with unsurpassed harshness and enormous armies which became so extended they could not longer be adequately supplied. As the church became increasingly centered in Rome, some of its leaders grappled intellectually and theologically with their empire's militarism. Augustine argued that war should be conducted on a very limited scale and only to the extent necessary to bring peace--an ideal never followed, even by armies from Christian countries. By contrast, Matthew 5.38- gives a much loftier and revolutionary theory, that one should not seek revenge but instead turn the other cheek. In Romans 12, we are given similar counsel, to live peacefully with all, to hate that which is evil, to bless our persecutors, and to refrain from repaying evil with evil. Each of the morning's songs beautifully addressed these themes. [JEK] NOTE: the recording of this service is available for borrowing but is not available for download.



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