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On Earth Peace

by John K. Stoner  (December 26, 2017)

“On earth peace” was the message of the angels to shepherds at the birth of Jesus, according to Luke.  (Lk. 2:4)

This puts peace at the center of the Christmas and Christian message.

We should notice that the angels did not say “In Bethlehem peace” or “in Israel peace.”  “On earth” includes the whole planet, to “the four corners of the earth” as the ancients sometimes put it.  

If we know anything about the will of God, it is safe to say that peace is the will of God.  If we asked the world’s millions of war refugees and displace persons, it’s a good bet they would agree that peace is the will of God, and an ever growing percentage of war veterans are saying the same thing. 

The pursuit of peace by war as a method to get there has not been marked by great success.  It has been said that no goal that is reached is ever better than the methods used to attain it.  There is much empirical evidence for that.  Put differently, those who claim that “the end justifies the means” have not proven, or persuaded all of us,  that weapons of gradual and mass destruction, nuclear bombs, drones and weaponized space hold for us a great and comforting promise of peace. 

Nevertheless, there is not a lie that is promoted with more energy, subtlety, nor sophistication than the lie that war will bring peace—or defeat evil.  Americans live in the country that lives by that lie.  Not the only country, but probably the one most exceptionally deluded, and determined to make this futility work.  

But then there is Jesus.  The most attractive and misrepresented figure in all of history.  The one who said “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)

The one whose kingship, or kingdom, or way of running the world, was altogether in this world, but as he said, “not of it.”  HIs way of running the world did not start with the world’s delusional methods of homicidal violence and “pre-emptive war,”  retribution, retaliation and vengeance. 

Jesus had a program to defeat evil, and it was to overcome evil with good.  This has not been found impossible, but difficult and therefore left untried.  

    A timely essay appeared yesterday.  Naomi Klein and Opal Tometi wrote “Forget Coates vs. West— We all Have a Duty to Confront the Full Reach of US Empire.” (click here)

In the time of Jesus there were religious people who collaborated with the Roman Empire, going along to get along.  There are a lot of people like that in our empire today, and what is most astonishing, doing it in the name of Jesus!  A more bizarre misrepresentation of Jesus could not be imagined.  Promoting violence to make peace.  

I hope you will read Klein and Tometi, and think with Jesus about how peace on earth might be possible.    


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