Because life is a series of edits

On Death and Justice

In Church, Politics on May 2, 2011 at 9:23 am


My friend and colleague, Rev. Luke Davis, sent this out to all our WCA staff this morning. It's very much along the lines of my own heart and worth a read for its clarity of thought.

Today, I am certain that many of our students (and we ourselves) will be reacting to the reported death of Osama Bin Laden. I am not one to make sweeping gestures and proclamations on geopolitical news (blame that on my Gospel-first, politically independent status), but I do feel compelled to make a pastoral request regarding this historic moment.

1. Justice has been done. True, it may not feel like complete justice (that’s in God’s hands), but there is no doubt there is a spirit that we’ve cut off a major head of the Hydra. A mastermind of Islamic terror has fallen. While it would have been nice to see OBL regenerated and washed by the blood of Christ, it is also a great reminder that there are consequences for evil actions. Justice wins.

2. Remind our students to continue praying for our military. This fight is not over. There is a good chance this could release cells of terror that have waited for a moment of more independent spirit. One of the hallmarks of a terror network is the potential to bring someone even worse and more evil to a position of leadership once one chief has been snuffed out (To wit, read George Jonas’ Vengeance, the book that inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film, Munich).

3. We all need to be reminded that this is not a time for us as a community to engage in conspiracy theories, “Is-he-really-dead?” questions, or battle over giving the credit to President Bush who set the fight against terror in motion or President Obama who has overseen this mission to this point.

Numbers 4 and 5 are somewhat hard things to say, but I need to say them:

4. One side of me recognizes that Osama Bin Laden has done an incredible amount of evil, and we remember with sober recall the events of 9/11, the bombing of the USS Cole, etc. However, I am somewhat surprised by the venom directed at Bin Laden in comparison to individuals like Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, and the Communist regimes of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The consistent destruction and erosion of the hope, freedom, and dignity of humanity in general and Christians in particular (plus the Jewish targets of Hitler’s “Final Solution”) get MUCH MORE BIBLICAL PRESS than what Bin Laden has coordinated. I’m not saying we should ignore this moment. I’m saying I’d hope we keep some perspective on what Scripture truly prizes in an impreccatory fashion. I doubt many of our celebrations over the last twelve hours have kept this in mind.

5. Finally, if we are truly followers of Christ, we should be marked by grace first and foremost. I’m not talking about speaking graciously here (though that can be part of it). I mean this: If we honestly thought about our sin, maybe we’d be more gratefully sober. Perhaps we need to have the solemn recognition and humility that, if God truly held even a whisker of a fraction of our sins against us, we would justly deserve much worse than what OBL got.

The good news is that justice will win because justice is ultimately from Yahweh. And it is also good news that Yahweh does not visit his righteous wrath on his children clothed in the blood of his Son, who endured worse than any terrorist strike.

Shalom, Luke

  1. I had very similar thoughts (and even used the same picture!) over at my blog this morning. Thanks for posting.

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