Reliance on Violence
May 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
Acts 7:55-60 tells an ugly story of humanity’s reliance on violence to protect our fears and ignorance. The story of the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, at the hands of religious people is still the story of violence in today’s world. If we just look around us, someone writes, we will see: “There are stories of violence as the hopeless expressions of a shattered soul (see: the most recent shootings in schools and workplaces). There are stories that remind us of some of the deepest challenges facing local and global politics (see: the January shootings in Tucson, Arizona, and the Taliban’s killing of Christian aid workers last August). There are stories that illustrate violence’s effectiveness as ruling powers’ defense against the radical claims of the gospel (see: Jean Donovan and the three other churchwomen brutally killed in El Salvador in 1980).” We know that, as followers of Jesus Christ, the world will reject us as they have rejected the One we follow. And that therefore, violence and death are inescapably part of the Christian journey. The ugliest part of this ugly story, however, is that this is a story of violence by religious people upon a religious person (even Saul, who would later become Paul, approved of this stoning). May the story of Easter, that there is life in the midst of death, provide us with the hope that God promises an end to this way of doing business. May God save us from ourselves in a world where everyone gets drawn into cycles of violence.