Violence and the Kingdom of God

Passion_of_the_Christ,_The_(C2)The news over the last couple of weeks has focused on Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. At this point there has been little violence connected to this invasion, but earlier demonstrations resulted in many deaths.

We humans are incredibly violent creatures. The Bible records the first act of violence when Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy (Genesis 4), but that action seems small when compared to the violence we have experienced over the last eighty years:

  • 40-70 million dead in World War II
  • 400,000-4.5 million dead in the Korean War
  • 800,000-3 million dead in the Vietnam War
  • 1.5-2 million dead in the Afghanistan War
  • 2.5-5.4 million dead in the Congo War (1998-2003)

This is only a partial list of what we have done to one another.

Violence continues to this day; among countries and even within countries and places as close as Maskwacis.

The spiritual cause of violence, as with all other problems arises from sin – that condition resulting from our broken relationship with God our creator. However, since Adam and Eve’s rebellion violence has found ways to reproduce itself. Genetics, brain lesions, personality disorders, substance abuse, and varied experiences with violent behavior all seem to predispose one to further violence.

The God witnessed in the Old Testament is not adverse to using violence and destruction to address injustice. This week’s reading from Amos will make that clear. So what should we make of that?

On the other hand, the God who comes among us in Jesus Christ allows violence to consume him on the cross. What do we make of that?

In following Jesus these forty days of Lent, how might we respond to the violence around us in a way that embodies the cross of God’s kingdom?

– Pastor Tim