As I read the February Journal, I found one news blurb deeply troubling: I wondered why any church would “adopt” a warship. Adopting a warship is an act that allows national values and issues to compromise our witness to the Lamb that was slain.
Instead, Christians must act in ways that acknowledge that the good news of Jesus’ acts is more determinative – or our identity and for all of history – than acts of terrorism or war.
Though I pray for the safety of Canadian soldiers abroad, as a Christian I cannot support any action which seeks retaliation against an enemy, even when the enemy’s actions are reprehensible, or even if that action is for my own defence. Of course, terrorists must be held responsible for their actions, but even when the cause is just, there is no such thing as a “just war.” Those who follow Jesus have learned that violence never brings peace, and that an ethic of “an eye for an eye” is eschatologically effete.
I am distressed that as Christians we have not yet learned to pray for our enemies as well as we do for victims or for our nation. I believe the reason for this is because we have difficulty imagining that we have enemies; on Sept. 11, 2001 we were surprised to discover that people hate us. The truth is that we don’t like to admit that we harbour our own cherished hatreds. But unless we acknowledge our enemies as enemies (not simply as aggressors), we can never hope to be reconciled to them.
Even though acts of terrorism are always heinous, as Christians we are obliged to discover ways to love even terrorists. Of course, I don’t assume that all Canadians believe this, but I am certain that all Christians do. As we mourn and grieve, let us not succumb to our fear, plotting revenge with our hearts, heads and hands; instead, let us witness to the sacrificial love Jesus gave us by imagining new ways to be reconciled to our enemies. Perhaps Canadian parishes should “adopt” the prisoners of war being held by the U.S. government in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Richmond Hill, Ont.