A Note from the DCE

In these times of bitter division and interpersonal strife, some self-proclaimed thought leaders in Christian communities argue that believers need to become more militant and use the tactics of the “enemy.”  They argue that traditional methods are not working, and that we need to take the fight to the other side because they are “winning.”  I’ll admit if their version of winning is what God is calling us to do, then they might be correct.  But I don’t think the author of the Onward Christian Soldiers hymn and the Lord’s Army children’s song is talking about taking up “arms” in that way.  Instead the battle call is taking up our cross and following Jesus.  And the Gospels show with great clarity the way Jesus fought.

Our readings today take up the themes of submission to governing authorities, fulfilling the law by loving, humbling oneself like a child, and dealing with our sin so as not to bring temptation to someone else.  These calls to action may not seem like the best military strategy.   I mean, who in this day and age appreciates humility and a child-like faith?  Whether or not it is appreciated, our call to live out our Christian faith is not about winning debates and beating others into submission.   It is a loving witness and allows God to work the “fight” in the way He does it.  It is God’s work.  He works through these unusual battle strategies through His Word, Jesus’ victory, and the Spirit reaching the hearts of former enemies of God.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  - Romans 13

And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.  Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” – Matthew 26

May we all be encouraged in our daily struggles knowing the Lord is with us.  May we walk in faith, confident that God is at work and that lives are touched through our loving witness in word and deed.

Mark Thompson