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Posts Tagged ‘war and peace’


Psalm 22: Spiritual Warfare – Part I

Monday, September 5, 2016bulls of bashan

Today’s and tomorrow’s Noontimes are adapted from a reflection written on Armistice Day, November 11, 2008.

On the day we celebrate the end of war, we might pause to think a bit about the spiritual warfare in which we are all daily engaged.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

While still on the cross, Christ appealed to the father with this prayer that generations of his people have used while addressing God in times of stress.  In the NAB the psalm bears the title Prayer of an Innocent Person.  Jesus, the unblemished lamb, dies in innocence, in the act of bringing healing to peoples crying for relief.  But Christ knew, as Paul tells us in Ephesians, Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.  Paul describes the armor of God we must wear as we enter into the warfare each day: the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Our feet must be shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.  (Ephesians 6)

Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

Bashan – a land east of the Jordan noted for the size of its animals – provides fierce opposition to the life of a Christian.  Again, Paul reminds us in his letter to Titus how to be consistent with sound doctrine, namely, that . . . [we] be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love and endurance, reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train [others].  (Titus 2Paul also calls women to a role subordinate to men which was appropriate for the day – and which we now recognize as outmoded in its effect.  The point here is that combat as we witness need not be fierce.  It need only be faithful, prayer-filled, and consistent with the Gospel.

Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you.

As the words on the prophet Micah remind us:  You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.  (Micah 6:8) There is no mystery in this.  The requirement is simple.  Spiritual warfare is this: Train self in order to invite wisdom; exercise compassion with justice in order to invite goodness.  All the rest follows naturally.  The outcome of good over evil is predictable . . . even if the time of final resolution is not.

Tomorrow, war and miracles.

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Luke 13:1-9: The Dream of Peace

Third Sunday of Lent, February 28, 2016

Zainab Salbi

Zainab Salbi

In today’s reading we watch as the seeds of division are sown by the discontent, the petty and the anxious. They want to know who has sinned and who has not, who is guilty and who is not, who is worthy and who is not. Jesus deftly turns the crowd away from the littleness of their questions and turns them back to the bigness of God. In essence he tells his listeners – as he tells us: there is no need to parse through the little details we drag up as we move through the gossip, scare-mongering and trivialities of our days. There is only a need to reflect the generosity, the beauty and fidelity of God and of God’s creation. There is only the call to bear fruit in the ground where we are planted. It is in this determination to bring good out of bad that God rests. And it is in this same persistence to remain faithful to God that we find God’s hope, and joy and peace.

women for women logoSpend a bit of time today to listen to: Women, Wartime, and the Dream of Peace, a 2010 Ted Talk by Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi author, women’s rights activist, humanitarian, social entrepreneur, and media commentator who founded Women for Women International. Visit the organization Salbi founded, Women for Women International, to see how we might find the peace that is promised to us as we build God’s kingdom today. Go to: http://www.womenforwomen.org/

Click on the images above to learn more, or visit: https://www.w4.org/en/voices/helping-women-survivors-conflict-zainab-salbi/  and http://www.womenforwomen.org/

Between two worldsYou may also be interested in Salbi’s book, Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam, that describes her incredible life story, and her up-close experience with tyranny as a daughter of privilege in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

We begin a new Lenten practice this week. Rather than thinking: “The dream of peace is an unreal and distant illusion,” let us think instead, “The dream of peace we hold is present in God’s kingdom. And God’s kingdom is now”.

Tomorrow, our native place.

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