“You cannot bear the Truth, but gently the Spirit guides
from truth to truth.“All Creation Waits
One of our prevalent myths is that the good guys win, because God is on their side. And so might makes right. The guy in the “white hat” will triumph. Having a Warrior God leads people to assume: the Nation under God must emerge victorious. “God is on our side” no matter what the price. And so people will stay in the fight even when it would be better to quit, because if God is with them, they must win. However, too often the good guys lose in real life. Innocent people are abused, tortured, and killed. There is an underlying truth to the notion that “good guys finish last,” and “only the good die young.” Whole nations are conquered and the people enslaved, or nearly wiped out. If the experience of the Holocaust teaches us anything, it teaches this truth: the good guys can and do lose. The question that rises out of the Holocaust is this one: where was God? Why didn’t God come to the rescue? This is the ongoing question of children who are abused, of women being beaten, of refugees fleeing for their lives, of victims of war, of all who suffer and die at the hands of others.
Where is God? Why didn’t God come to the rescue? Can these horrible things be God’s will? The answer is this: God is in us, and we are the ones God chooses to do God’s work. Let me write that again: God is in us, and we are the ones God chooses to do God’s work. We are to be about the work of salvation. We are the incarnation of God in the midst of Creation, and we have always been that incarnation. If we fail to act, then God’s plans for salvation also fail. God’s will fails because we fail. God has ordained it that this is so. Where is God’s salvation? It is in us, especially those of us who are part of the Body of Christ, because we know the plan of God. We know we are to be Bread, Blessed and Broken and given for others. Why didn’t God come to the rescue? Because we didn’t come to the rescue.
Here and there throughout the whole of humanity are those individuals who are awake and act. They are those who have understood and grasped the truth, whether or not they know Christ. The experience of the Holocaust is therefore also an experience of individuals saving people, even at great risk to themselves. But most of humanity was asleep, sitting on their hands, closing their eyes, covering their ears, unaware of who God is, unaware of who they are in God, unaware of the ways of God, and unaware that they were being called by God to save others. Instead, most people looked away. Or they prayed and waited for that superhero messiah who is supposed to come and do the work of salvation. In order for great evil to exist it is enough that good people do nothing.
God loves all humanity, and all of Creation. Christ, fully incarnate in the midst of humanity, in the person of Jesus, shows us the way to be the incarnate presence of God. Now we know; now we can follow; now we can get it right and be a true blessing to all of Creation — if we awaken to our call.
Conquerors justify their violence through the ancient myth of God the warrior. In this myth God has favorites, and fights on the side of those favorites. Time and again in the history of the world a conquering horde went into a land populated by others, and brutally killed men, women, and children in order to take possession of the land. And then these conquerors called this brutality “God’s will.” Who can argue with “God’s will?” These conquerors may describe themselves as the “chosen people” of God, or say they have a “manifest destiny,” and the land is given to them by God. In one way or another the conqueror proclaims that God is for us, and against them. The history the conquerors write is a history that justifies killing and justifies taking and possessing the land. They follow the ancient philosophy that says, if we who are stronger want what you have, you will not be able to keep it. But God does not condone the brutal killing, torture, and enslavement of others; God does not condone the destruction of the earth. Not the God who is revealed to us through Christ. If you accept Christ as revealed in Jesus, you can no longer believe in that warrior God.
My beloved ones in Christ, let us do all we can to be a blessing to others and to all creatures who share this planet earth.