Like most people, much of my time this week has been given to reading articles and reflections, listening to the news and to neighbors, praying and pondering the events in Tucson.
During this season, throughout Advent and Christmas, I was profoundly aware of the scriptural call to disarmament, the dream of peaceful community, expressed especially in the prophetic writings contained in the book of Isaiah. I even began to use the expression “the disarmed heart” as a way to navigate through the scriptures of Advent and Christmas. The crisis moment comes when Jesus arrives as helpless infant: no power, no privilege, no prestige, an embodiment of God’s disarmed and disarming love: Prince of Peace.
I was grateful, too, this week, to have Dr. King’s example of non-violence to hold up as a possibility, and an antidote to the option for violence as we saw it unfold in Tucson. Liberation theologians speak of God’s preferential option for the poor. I think that we could talk, as well, about God’s preferential option for non-violence, or God’s preferential option for peace.
One of the greatest strengths of Lutheran tradition is our capacity to hold together the complexity and paradoxes of moral discourse. We value ethical deliberation and reasoned discourse; we value the conscience of the individual. We don’t walk out on difficult conversations; or at least that’s my ideal vision of our tradition. We have a gift to offer now as a denomination in the political conversations in our country, that would demonstrate the possibilities of non-combative discourse, or civil debate, and gracious listening. I wonder how we might do that in our local communities. Perhaps Lutheran churches could host local events on learning skills for moral discourse, or for non-violent communication. We could talk about gracefully living with open questions, living with paradox, living with the awareness of a broken world, and the hope of redemption. We could speak of realism, imperfection and grace, of being saints and sinners who nevertheless dream of the kingdom, and who work to build it. And we could speak of God’s faithfulness, a God who offers forgiveness and the possibility of a different future, one founded upon compassion and justice. We could speak of these things. We could do them, we could offer them in this kairos moment for our nation.
For more on peacemaking see the ELCA link: here