Greetings! to all in the Kaffeeklatsch on a lovely Autumn Sunday (into Monday for some of us).
As usual, our gracious host recently spurred thought about the annoyingly pacific – almost paralyzed – stance taken by those who espouse conservatism – as all they cherish seems to slip through their willingly-splayed fingers. (As he originally suggested: “[Resolved]: Turning the other cheek equals getting your backside/’six’ kicked.”) How could I resist such an invitation?
The origins of Christian pacifism are well-beyond the scope of a post of this kind. Such a survey would certainly bring out the dreaded: “Too long; didn’t read”, in the comments here. Suffice it to say that there are enough references to passive non-responsiveness to physical agression folded into the New Testament that entire faith communities have grown from them. These verses remind me of fruit or chocolate folded into a basic, sustaining pancake batter: highlights, but not the main event.
My faith community’s readings this weekend [Exodus 17:8-13; Luke 18:1-8] highlighted the power of prayer – and supported persistence in it. Both of these are favorites, but the first comes to mind in this discussion a bit more strongly. The children of Israel are engaged in battle to claim territory from Amalek; with Joshua on the field, in command. Moses, Aaron, and Hur viewed the conflict from a vantage-point above the field of battle.
Moses, as chief intercessor for Israel, stood with arms upraised, palms upturned, beseeching the LORD’s assistance in obtaining victory for them. As long as Moses could maintain this posture, Israel had the advantage in the fight; as he tired – and his arms lowered – Amalek’s forces gained strength. So, Hur found a smooth rock to allow Moses to sit down as the day wore on. Then Aaron and Hur stood at Moses’ right and left to support his upraised arms and upturned hands….Israel ultimately conquered Amalek’s forces, put them to the sword, and advanced further into the Promised Land.
Moses acts as intercessor in the battle: he’s not in the fray, but when he tires, the tide turns in Amalek’s favor. His prayer is vital to victory. The support offered by Aaron and Hur is integral, too. So, I would submit that all of us who are committed to a way of life certainly founded on Judeo-Christian principles and rooted in the truths reiterated in our founding documents need to stop polishing our brass (so to speak) and start living with intention; modeling the link between freedom and responsibility, donning the full armor of God, as St. Paul writes in Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 11-18, KJV:
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints[.]
Let’s pray like it all depends on God – and work like it all depends on us, as a pastor during my college years would say. Living the life we want, being who we are, using the cultural inheritance that’s still available to us. (H/T to Douglas Murray [from 42:30 mark to end]) And, continue supporting each other, in any and every way, daily – because our way of life depends on it. Especially prayer for and with the 1% who maintain and sustain our freedom and safety; our elder warrior-statesmen who keep us honest, as well as those who’ve given the “last full measure”and their families. Thanks, once again for the suggestion , ST!…and Amen?
Until next time….