The year has flown by so quickly. It seems it was just a wee while ago that we were saying Happy New Year, and suddenly we are past Remembrance Sunday.
Now I look forward to my annual celebration of American Thanksgiving.C As I prepared for the Remembrance Service just past, I was conflicted in exactly how to address the topic.
There is a side of me that is a bit of a hawk when it comes to taking care of the ‘bad guy’. A side that wants to set all that is wrong in the world right even if it takes might to do it. Get in there guns blazing and the bigger the gun the better.
My other side says surely that is not how Christ would want it done in our world today. I know there will in the end be a great battle to end all battles and Christ will reign victorious. But in our world today it seems so not right if Christ is not at the head of that army doing the winning of the battle. In my families’ history as Mennonites also runs a strong band of passivism that chafes against aggressive action apart from defence.
As these thoughts run through my head and heart, I am at the end of the day thankful for the situation as I live life today. A time when the Christian ethic and faith laid a ground work for the liberties we so often take for granted. I marvel that in our day we so often want to ignore the thoughts, faith and conflict that have shaped history and allowed for our world to become what it has become. While not perfect by anyone’s way of thinking, I don’t think we want to live under a dictatorship of the past.
I ponder what our world might have looked like had the nations not risen up against the tyranny that was being put in place but that the two Great Wars of the twentieth century averted. So I am thankful for the result and while not enamoured with thoughts of war on the one hand, I honour and am thankful to those who fought, served and in too many cases died so that we can enjoy our lives today.
In the account of Joshua, as the people of Israel passed over the Jordan River they built cairns to be reminded of their own past and of the miracle of God’s power to make a way for them to enter the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
So I leave you to ponder the words of Joshua 4, 20-24: “And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ Then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
Moving on to more thankfulness in the coming weeks,
Rev. Jon Bergen