web analytics

Facing Death with Jesus

The gruesome news last week of the murder of photographer James Foley only adds to the grief we all feel for the systematic slaughter of Christians and moderate Muslims by ISIS fanatics in northern Syria and Iraq. How would we respond to a demand that we adopt a bloodthirsty ideology or perish? Our natural instinct for self-preservation makes us cringe at the prospect, and arouses outrage at those who force others to make such a choice. We feel the thin surface of civilisation dissolving around us and wonder how order can be restored in our fractured world. A violent international military response may be just what the perpetrators are looking for, to add fuel to their revolutionary flame.
This week’s gospel reading mandates a different response from Christians. Jesus called his disciples to join him in his non-violent confrontation with the oppressive violence of the evil Roman Empire which held their world in thrall. To do so required them each to embrace the real prospect of their own deaths, overcoming their natural instinct for self-preservation. In doing so they eventually eroded that evil empire from within, but at great cost. Can we follow them today, if God requires it of us?
My video on this reading was recorded three years ago but seems right up to date as our world’s violence continues.
You can hear what I have to say here…
Howard Pilgrim

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *