Shadow of Violence

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“You sweep humans away like daydreams, like fresh grass which springs up and flowers in the morning, but by evening is withered and dry.”

Psalm 90: 5

Sadly, even in this season of Christmas, we continue to live under a dark shadow, the shadow of violence. Many respond to violence believing there is nothing that can be done, and nothing that will be done. I’m tempted to embrace that spirit myself. I’m tempted to believe that nothing can change when it comes to violence. That all is futile. I’m tempted to say “What’s the point? What is the use of the work, the pain, the grief we put in, trying to make a change?” I’m tempted to let myself be beaten down by the hopelessness of more people responding in violence to frustration and disappointment.

Psalm 90 says, “You sweep humans away like daydreams, like fresh grass which springs up and flowers in the morning, but by evening is withered and dry.” Our human life is so short, and there is not much time to make the changes we so want to make. But gratefully the psalm goes on to say, “When morning comes, fill us with your love, and then we shall celebrate all our days.” God is speaking to us and has the words of life… if we are open to hear them.

We must be open to hearing God’s voice telling us to put aside our old self, the self that is tempted to despair, the self that wants to give up, the self that forgets that we have been given a new life in Christ, and a new self. We can believe that the goodness of God will triumph. We can believe in the promise of Christmas.

There is an attitude underneath violence and its name is resentment, the belief that someone or some group is keeping me from having what I want and deserve. Resentment is part of that old self that we need to put to death. It comes easily to humans. Wealthy people, politicians, and rulers learn how to manipulate it, and encourage our resentments toward others to protect themselves. Resentment often leads to destruction and violence.

The cure is to be part of the family of God. To understand that everything comes from God and there isn’t anything we can offer God that God didn’t create. The only thing that is truly ours, is our relationships. Our true worth is in our relationships, and in Christ all the boundaries that keep people apart disappear. In Christ there is no Greek or Hebrew, no Jew or Gentile, no slave or citizen, and no gender. We could also say, no immigrant, no refugee, no aliens. All boundaries cease to exist in Christ.  So, the solution is to bring all things together through Christ into the Unity of God’s love.

My beloved ones, keep the promise of Christmas hope alive.

Bishop Kedda

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