the eighth day

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March 15, 2007


I was privileged to hear Father John Dear speak at a Whitley College seminar yesterday. John is a peace activist in the non-violent tradition of Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, whose message is grounded in the gospel narrative, and flows from and into the life that he leads. He has given me much food for thought, but one stands out above all others at this time. I have been reading a series of reflections on the last words of Jesus from the cross by Stanley Hauerwas, fitting as we move through Lent. John Dear made an observation which gave me pause for thought... what were the last words of Jesus to the gathered church of the time? They were spoken in the Garden of Gethsemane... "put down your swords".
From this time forward, the disciples dispersed; the last words from the cross heard by only a few.
What is the import of these words?
It struck me as John spoke that we regularly disconnect the individual events of Holy Week in particular and the life of Jesus in general from the overall picture. We cannot separate Jesus' injunction to put down the sword from his crucifixion, or response under pressure at trial - Jesus eschewed violence as a response. Neither can we ignore Jesus' overturning of the tables in the temple, or the prayer for his disciples, "Love one another as I have loved you".
The Christian faith has been tacked onto, and at times given fuel to trains heading for war. How are we to embrace this last command of Jesus in the garden?
The way of nonviolence has demonstrated powerful and transformative effects, far greater than military might (consider Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, The Falklands, the list could go on...), yet we have barely learnt the ways.
It is something which will remain at the forefront of my journey through Lent.

Posted by gary at March 15, 2007 11:28 AM


i totally agree with the words of Lord that keep reminding us to love one another. amen.

Posted by: laney [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2007 05:41 PM

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