Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peace on Earth

The angelic choir sang the first song of Christmas: "Glory to God / in the highest / and on earth peace /among those of [God's] favor" (2:14).

Its theme was peace. But what made this heralded peace different than the Roman peace (Pax Romana) that already filled the world at Jesus’ birth? Or as John Dominic Crossan asks, “If the Roman Augustus had already established peace on earth, what was left for the Jewish Jesus to accomplish?” He goes on to say, “The difference was not in the that of peace but in its how, not in the purpose and intention of peace but in the mode and method of its accomplishment . . . . For Rome the mode and method was: religion, war, victory, peace . . . . But the messianic vision of the Jewish Jesus proclaimed a different program: religion, non-violence, justice, peace. Its mantra was peace through justice.”

He adds, “Victory's violence establishes not peace but lull -- until the next and always more violent round of war. The Christian challenge of Christmas is this: justice is what happens when all receive a fair share of God's world and only such distributive justice can establish peace on earth.”

While Crossan is correct in his analysis, he erroneously believes justice can be achieved here and now when governments distribute wealth equally to all. In reality, it will be achieved only when God establishes his kingdom on earth under the rule of Messiah. Until then, the church in submission to Christ is called to practice egalitarian justice, and thus demonstrate in part what the future kingdom will be like. In doing so, the church serves as an attractive alternative to the kingdoms of this world.

1 comment:

Vegaia said...

Peace on Earth?

Aren't humans amazing? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."

~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald's Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

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Anyone can break this cycle of violence! Everyone has the power to choose compassion! Please visit these websites to align your core values with life affirming choices: http://veganvideo.org & http://tryveg.com