Friday, August 25, 2006
PEACE ON EARTH?
Our world seems to be filled with fear and anxiety. The rulers of the world are tackling this by increased airport security, surveillance, armed guards, and attacks on enemies whether real or assumed. In other venues, leaders gather to loudly condemn "terrorism" or whatever appears to be the work of their enemies. Still others use every human device like bargaining, cajoling, coercion, even blackmailing or bribery, to broker some sort of peace deal. Ironically, sometimes peace is sought through the imposition and threat of overwhelming violence.
Why is there worldwide terror? In the Old Testament of the Bible (Lev. 26:16; Det. 28:67) "terror" was a curse brought upon a land. But there is also "peace" promised in the Old Testament through the coming "Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Who is that Prince?
Before he was himself attacked, beaten, and finally unjustly tortured and executed, Jesus said this to his disciples: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Jesus (and his followers) were people of peace. There is only one incident where an over zealous disciple struck out in violence, and Jesus rebuked him, "Put your sword back in its place...for all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Matthew 26:52). This principle Jesus was referring to was "reaping what we sow" -- for violence only begets more violence.
Jesus offered us the way to peace in his "kingdom" -- loving our enemies, doing good to those who persecute us, forgiving others, and praying for our foes. He proved that sacrificial love has more force than bombs, missiles, nuclear weapons, torture, imprisonment or military conquest. Though not a Christian (but an avid reader of the teachings of Jesus), the Indian leader Ghandi seemed to understand this in his principle of non-violence. Bishop Tutu understood this as he sought an end to the cycle of violence in South Africa through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission -- in place of revenge and violent retaliation, offering forgiveness.
In this world of terror and fear, seek Jesus. He IS the Prince of Peace!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Many years ago, I saw children who were homeless or who were abused, neglected, unloved. They were kind of crazy, wild, out of control and demanding. Yet, they, and their families, taught me how to love, how to share, how to give. And much to my own surprise, I found that they had given to me more than I had given to them. They were precious, like rare gems. Today, 20 years later, there are still precious children in the neighborhood whose sparkling eyes and brilliant smiles still warm my heart.
Monday, August 21, 2006
The "hippo" in this photo is accompanied by the "songbird" his trusted companion. Together, they have lived in many nations. It seems that children are special fans of the hippo whereas adults sometimes are... well ... rather unkind. Maybe the hearts of children haven't had time to harden yet, to turn to stone, and their minds are still open. They are simple, vulnerable, and they cry (and laugh) rather easily. They see angels more quickly than grown ups. To the hippo, most children are sooooooooooooooo cute!