Fear, Greed, and Violence

Jesus is the eternal Word who was in the beginning and through whom all things came into being and through whom all life is sustained. The eternal Word, the Only Begotten, came among us and lived a human life with his parents, Joseph and Mary. “The Word of God was made flesh and dwelled among us.” Jesus dwells among us now. He is the source of our life and he sustains us. Through his nonviolent victory over evil he shows us the way back to the Creator. He has restored us in our relationship with the Creator because he absorbed evil rather than inflicting it. Yet we resist his truth.

On the night of the election, Andrew Young, colleague of Dr. King and civil rights activist, analyzed what was happening. His words have a prophetic ring:
Faith has overcome fear.
Grace has overcome greed.
Vision has overcome violence.

Faith has overcome fear. How long we have lived in bondage. Leaders have manipulated our fears and made false promises about being our security. We know deep down that no leader, no government can make us secure. Our only security is in Jesus Christ and his truth. The only peace which can free us from oppression and fear is the peace won by Christ’s blood. He made us one with the Creator and restored the promise of Eden. Make no mistake about it—“Our salvation (security) is in the name of the Creator who made the heavens and the earth.”

Grace has overcome greed. This is hard to believe after the Wall Street collapse and the impending crash of the American automotive industry. Greed is one of the capital sins. It is a grave sin which leads us to worship mammon rather than God. Greed exploits peoples in developing nations and on our streets. Greed keeps people homeless in American. Greed causes children to go to bed hungry every night. Greed denies medical insurance to 37 million Americans. The richest nation in the history of the world can spend trillions on war and war making but cannot care for the least among us. This is GREED! Maybe the current financial crisis is a warning to us. We cannot place our hopes in the stock market and the world economy. Our hope is in Jesus Christ who told us to take care of the least among us. We are not called to amass fortunes in silos. We are called to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.

Vision has overcome violence. Without a vision we perish. Jesus is the focus of our vision. We keep our eyes on the prize. Jesus teaches us to love one another and to forgive our enemies. He teaches us to care about one another. He teaches the path of nonviolence. We spend 52% of our budget on defense. What would happen if we were to divert just 30% of the defense budget to provide for the needs of the least among us? Every person in America, just because they are a human being, has the right to food, clothing, shelter, education and health care. These are not options. These are necessities for participation in our democracy. I saw a report on the evening news that involved a father who had been hospitalized because he had stopped taking insulin so he could feed and shelter his children. Should this situation which is being repeated numerous times every day be taking place in America?

If Jesus were living among us in America now, what would he be saying to the imperial powers? Would he be urging our leaders to bring an immediate halt to the carnage in Gaza? Yes. Would he be calling upon our elected officials to find a way to provide healthcare for every American? Yes. Would Jesus be challenging us and our leaders to pare down the defense budget and to divert the funds to provide for the least among us? Yes. Would Jesus be well on his way to another crucifixion by the imperial powers? Probably. Then again maybe they will continue to ignore his truth a because it is impractical in our world.

Let us pray for the gift of faith. Let us seek grace—the presence of God in our lives. Let us develop a vision that will not wither. Let us strive to make Jesus’ teaching and truth and vision a reality in our lives, in our nation, and in our world.

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