Saturday, April 19, 2014

Some good in this world worth fighting for

This quote from The Two Towers by J R R Tolkien seemed too good to pass up for reflection.

As it is almost Easter, I want to make a radical suggestion - that it is as much original good as original sin that motivates the cross. The Christian message says that humanity is estranged from God, and God in Jesus reconciles us with himself. The need for reconciliation is tied to some idea of human sin, and often a Fall in some Augustinian sense (after Augustine of Hippo). But what of the "end behold, it was very good" of Genesis 1? If there was nothing good in creation, would God have bothered to die for it? The idea of total depravity means all areas of life are affected by sin, not that all people are as evil as they can be.

So it seems to me, on the cross, God fights for what is good in the world - what echoes his own creative character, what still bears his image. And so it is for this sort of good we fight.

We fight against corporations and policies that don't have the good of creation in mind, we resist its destruction because of its own value in itself, because of the impact on people that a denuded creation makes, and because the creation bears God's own stamp.

We fight for justice for the poor and oppressed because of the good in them, the image of God. We fight for proper treatment, fair pay, access to education and the ability to earn an income, right to asylum. We try and level the playing field of access so that people might achieve their potential if they so choose.

We fight for peace, to avoid war, to ban weapons that do horrific damage to civilians like nuclear weapons, land mine, chemical and biological weapons. There is still much good in this world worth fighting for.

Our weapons are letter writing, protests, marches, boycotts, votes, prayers, sermons, books, tracts. As a Christian I cannot raise my hand against someone or do them harm. But there is much else I can do. I acknowledge the need to restrain evil, am thankful for police and armed forces. Killing is a sin; sometimes one that is made difficult to avoid. I do not vilify those who have to make those decisions in real time, but always pray and fight for peace that they do not have to make those decisions.

We fight for and end to the need to fight, until he who died to end all violence returns.

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