Sunday, June 28, 2009
A struggling peacemaker
Tonight I went to the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall which made a stop in a near by town. It was called "The Cost of Freedom" tour. It was an emotional experience. In front of the wall there were 8 large display cases with the dog tags of those who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The wall itself is in sections--sometimes the names on the section are those killed over a week, sometimes the names on the section are those killed in one day. As I stood in the rain and the echoing thunder, I heard the old saying, "freedom isn't free." And I began to wonder...when will we value human lives as much as we value freedom? When will we value the words of Jesus to love our enemies as much as we value our government's call to patriotism? I guess I am struggling with the call to be a peacemaker in a violent world. When Jesus said love your enemies and turn the other cheek, what were his boundaries for that? Did he realize that the world would call us weak? Or did he know that after time, a deeper change occurs in our enemies and in ourselves? I don't know. I just know it was very disturbing to see all those dog tags. It was very disturbing to see all those names on the wall and the memorials that people left behind in memory of a friend, a son, a lover, a father. I am not sure what makes my freedom more valuable than someone else's life. I am not sure what makes one life more valuable than another person's life. For each name on the wall and each dog tag of an American, how many Vietnamese and Iraqi names are being mourned? I don't have an answer or the right way to navigate this issue. I am just struggling to be a Christian in a violent world.