Posted by: gcarkner | November 7, 2013

Remember What? Invest in What?

The Take Home Message of Remembrance Day

In Canada, this is the week of remembrance of people who have made the ultimate sacrifice “for God and country”, for “freedom”, for “honour” in the great wars of the 20th century. Our veterans deserve their due respect. It gives us pause to think about the sacrifice, the costs. The trumpet plays its forlorn tune at the cenotaff. The wreaths are laid ever so gently, slowly, so as to slow time itself. It is a moment for reflection on where we are and what we have learned from history.

However, we must avoid at all costs a glorification of war. Is there ever a just war when so much mayhem occurs, people’s lives are destroyed, property stolen, families ripped up the middle, refugees are driven across wastelands or into jungles as we are seeing now in the Congo or Syria. War brings us ‘hell on earth’. War is a false gospel, a bad culture, a deadly discourse, a dis-ease, a way of life steeped in blood and immense suffering. War is full of arrogance, bravado, machismo, imperialism, deception and pride. It is a false god! It reveals itself as the art of being overcome by evil. War is a failure in good diplomacy, a failure of our ethics and politics. It is nothing to be proud of. War is for moral children who cannot discern the conversation of negotiated needs, of politicians who cannot think deep enough, without the patience to study the consequences and the debts to be paid.

 I was reading Romans 12 this week and Paul is reflecting on a different gospel, a different culture, a discourse of peace, love and constructive living together, using our gifts to bless one another, negotiating our conflicts, loving our enemies. Jesus is announced as the Prince of Peace who claimed, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” This is a high honour. Romans 12 is a discourse of realistic evaluation of faith and giftedness to pursue a calling which honours God and builds into communion. It is a heroic paradigm shift from war.

What is the New Culture, New Agreement, New Way of Being in the World, this Love Intelligence, this Trajectory of Peace that  Jesus offers?

  • love is the major or dominant theme in the Bible; it is God language; God is love at the deepest depths
  • we are encouraged to be rooted and grounded in the infinite resource of God’s trinitarian communion of love
  • Jesus is love incarnate, representing this gospel of peace, the herald of love embodied, communicated from heaven to earth
  • we were created out of love, for love; our ethics at their best are grounded in love and divine goodness
  • we are redeemed by and baptized into a persistent, enduring love
  • we were given a mandate, a destiny of love, a heritage of love
  • we are given a new identity in Christ, in agape love
  • love is given to us as a cultural driver, to set a new course for society and for institutions, other than raw power, ego and territoriality
  • we are called to drill down into this amazing resource, to explore this vast oceanic love with unlimited potential
  • love is a fulcrum to move the world

We are encouraged not to trust or invest in resentment, unforgiveness, hate or war. Invest in love; step into the river of love; be baptized and bathe in it; let it transform your inner self and inspire you; let it engage you and grip you imagination, fire your passion. Jesus asks us to:

  • practice and become fluent in the languages of love, to become an articulate spokesperson for love
  • work out the ethics and politics of love, to see how it transforms the negotiation, stops the feud
  • let love penetrate all your relationships in your family, your lab, your study group, your research
  • invest in the currency of love, and watch God expand your giftedness beyond your imagination
  • pray for love to reign in your home country, your family, your campus; bring heaven to UBC, Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, the Sorbonne and the world
  • recognize that human rights and justice are grounded in love for God and the Other
  • let love shape your identity, empower you, inspire you, fill you up with hope and joy and vision for a better world
  • let love be your compass, your guide, your starting point and your life goal, your very foundation
  • let love give you new eyes to see, new ears to hear, new dreams to dream, heroic journeys to travel
  •  build communities of love; be a spark for love; lead in love

Therefore I urge you sisters and brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice of love, holy and pleasing to God. Be transformed by the renewal of his infinite love; allow the paradigm shift to occur in you. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Embrace his love as your very modus operandi in life.

These boys, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, cry out to us from the graves all over the world, “Please Remember to Invest in Love not War”.

 ~Gord Carkner

A vision of war

If war was a colour, it would be grey, like smoke rising. If war was a sight, it would be people falling down. If war was a smell, it would be death. If war was a taste, it would be bitter, like salt. If war was a sound, it would be people crying. If war was a feeling, it would be sad.

Kathryn Towler, age 8, Halifax

Volf, M. (1996). Exclusion and Embrace: A theological exploration of identity, otherness and reconciliation. Nashville: Abingdon Press.  David Crowder Band  O How He Loves Us

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