Seeking Grace Under Fire

“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.”  Matthew 11:12

As I sat to write this, we were exactly halfway through the federal election campaign and the ‘V’ word had captured media attention. No, not ‘V’ for vote, but ‘V’ for violence – a party leader cancelled an event due to concerns for safety. The violence was a more vociferous threat than virulent action. [Afghanistan is the current locus of virulent action]. As many voices raised concern about the threat, I found myself somewhat underwhelmed by the alarm being expressed.

Don’t misunderstand me. Descent into mob rule, intimidation and lawlessness is totally unacceptable in a democratic society. Concern should be voiced. What was perplexing was the lack of substance or context supporting the concern. Especially the seeming unawareness that violence is humanity’s reflexive response when life doesn’t unfold as one wishes.

Violence is our automatic action to retake control, to become the one exercising power. [‘V’ for Vendetta?!]

Even as I was reflecting on those voices of alarm, I began to shift to the current milieu in which the RF exists within the PCC. The Board is wrestling with future direction and actions. We are considering various ways to be the ‘salt and light’ that is integral to faithfulness in the kingdom of heaven.

In our present denominational situation, I sometimes find myself relating very strongly to Matthew 11:12 and feeling both violated and wanting to respond in kind [see default above]. Then I remember, “That the kingdom of God is … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)

Doubtless God’s kingdom among us has been violently assailed. Power has been abused. Laws have been broken or ignored. Intimidation has happened. Suffering has resulted.

John was beheaded. Jesus crucified. Paul imprisoned. Every violent assault was met by a succession of servants who undauntedly responded with truth and grace and God’s kingdom grew in vitality and wholeness. Pray that the Board may guide the Fellowship in similar directions.

One thought on “Seeking Grace Under Fire

  1. Hello Ian, Grace from our God is always far greater than the platitudes of men. Like John and Paul, we wait on our God to uphold us even when we are in the fire.
    Jesus said that he would never leave us. That helps me at this time. The Holy Spirit of God has been sent to us to enable us at a time like this not to be faint-hearted but to look up and know that we serve a mighty God. I pray that we will all find a way through this world’s lies. The truth is no longer believed, but we have the real truth that can still save lives. We need to move forward and witness God’s love to all. Thank you for the work that you do by keeping us informed, phil.

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