"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fifth Station of the Cross

"Simon was an innocent bystander in the crowd. We know from the accounts in the gospels of Luke and Mark that Simon did not step forward to take the cross. Different Bible translations tell us that the soldiers of the occupying Roman army 'grabbed', 'seized', 'laid hold upon' him, then 'compelled', 'forced' him to carry the cross." - Christian Peacemaker Teams

Each of us is a bystander at the crucifixion and the empire has laid hands on us to carry His cross. Perhaps none suffer this cross so much today as the Palestinians who are slaughtered while the world yawns: "In the first two months of 2008, Israeli security forces killed 146 Palestinians in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and Gaza Strip. Like Simon, at least 42 were bystanders, who 'did not participate in fighting when killed'." We other bystanders stand and watch while the murder goes on, forced to participate in the torture and humiliation which our country and Israel inflicts on those whose existence is inconvenient to the exigencies of power.

Yet, there are no bystanders at the crucifixion. Christ does not let us be bystanders, nor does the empire. "Just as the Roman soldiers 'seized' and 'grabbed' Simon, those with military power target the bystander. On 27 February the Israeli military targeted the civilian Interior Ministry in Gaza, damaging nearby buildings and killing a six-month-old baby. The same day, Palestinian military groups in Gaza targeted the Israeli town of Sderot, killing a 47 year old civilian." - Christian Peacemaker Teams

We cannot be innocent when we allow the innocent to be tortured before our awareness, whether it be for our "safety" or for any other reason. To do so is to abandon the only real safety we have - peace which castes aside safety in absolute trust in God. "There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is the great venture. It can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The demand for security always brings violence because such a demand contains the seed of all violence - mistrust of God. Separation barriers will never bring safety, but justice might.

Jesus shows us the way to peace by daring peace. "We know that Jesus was not 'compelled' or 'forced' to take up the cross. We too are called to willingly take up the cross by speaking out against war, by saying that the death of any one person is too much, that violence leads to violence, it will never lead to peace." - Christian Peacemaker Teams

For all the peace warriors who will take up the call tomorrow - pick up the cross and let your love of peace, order, truth, and justice be the guide to all your anti-war actions. May peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

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