In God’s name?
A lot of things are done in God’s name. Feeding the poor. Getting rich. The early church community. The Crusades. Opposing violence. Defending homophobia. Waiting for manna. Ransacking nature’s resources.
It’s strange. It seems as though we’ve mastered the art of manipulating God. It dawned on me during another poignant moment during The Bible special on The History Channel. While Jesus prayed with his disciples at the Last Supper, the scene cut to the prayers of the Pharisees that they might kill Jesus that night. Back to Jesus and Judas. Back to the robed teachers of the law. Both seemed to think that they have God on their side. Years later Paul also believed he had God on his side while he massacred, plundered, and pillaged; much like the behaviour of our modern day politics, corporations, and societies.
So now what? We stand by as the Israelis continue to destroy Palestinian homes, schools, land, and way of life, because the Jews are God’s “chosen” people? We watch as the Land of the Free continues to discriminate against and prohibit homosexual freedoms like that of marriage because it’s “unbiblical”? We allow our governments to act with complete disregard to our natural resources and blatantly ignore the First People from this land because at some point Europe had the gall to think that their Christian God had entrusted them with superiority over the Earth and her inhabitants?
My god. MY God. Or is She your God? I’m sure I’ve got it figured out, I’m doing what She wants me to do. And you’re positive that She is backing you up. So, how does God pick sides?
One theory would suggest that indeed there are no sides. Everything was once good, evil is only an angel who has fallen. But with redemption that angel can be good again. For “if the demonic arises when an angel deviates from its calling, then social change does not depend on casting out the demon, but recalling its angel to its divine task” (Walter Wink).
Another theory suggests that God must have a side. He’s the judge right? Right. GOD is the judge. Not us. Some would say God can not be non-violent because he’s the prosecutor. He must judge. But we don’t judge, we act. And how are we to act? Cue the nativity scene.
Jesus. A revolutionary. A teacher. Amidst many fallen angels, what does he do? He broadcasts himself on the road to Damascus and gives Paul, a murderer, an opportunity. In the garden where Jesus was betrayed and arrested, he reaches out and heals the soldier’s ear, cut off by Peter. Jesus picks no favourites. Jesus denies no rights. Jesus claims no land.
Jesus washes feet.
Whatever I do, let it be in Jesus’ name.