Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Bloody Peace

"President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe called for 'national healing' as he appeared at an independence event with his rival, the current prime minister."

Another broken nationa, another story of the misuse of power and the resulting conflict and shattered lives.

We don't have to look far in the headlines to see the splintered condition of today's world:

  • Sri Lanka Rejects UN Appeal
  • Suicide Bomb Hits Pakistan Police
  • South Africa 'Doomed Under Zuma'
  • Israeli Military Ready to Bomb Iran
Here in the U.S., even at the relatively simple level of political parties, the divide is growing. The Rasumussen polling group reported, in a March 29 story, that "Fifty-eight percent of voters now think politics in Washington, D.C. will be more partisan over the next year rather than more cooperative. That's up from 49% a month ago, 40% two months ago, and 34% in early January."

Those numbers come as no surprise. And that's just the domain of politics, mild compared to divorce, family breakup, ethnic rivalry, homicide and war. Could anybody envision a real and lasting improvement, true healing, real peace? In Zimbabwe? In the Middle East? Anywhere?

There is One who does, One who in fact has promised both peace and justice and who has already made the downpayment. He is in fact the ancient Israeli whose life and death is implicitly acknowledged with every reference to a date; our calendar is testimony to the global impact of Jesus of Nazareth.

Writing to the church in the city of Colossae (in what is now Turkey) about 30 years after the public execution of Jesus, Paul had this to say about that death: "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things to himself, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

Why did Jesus die? Among the many dimensions to the answer is the one given above. Jesus died to bring reconciliation to all things, to make peace. His death was the downpayment for the healing of the world. At a cosmic level too profound to fully understand, the perfect God-man laid, by his death, the one true foundation for peace.

The working out of that initial divine act is still underway. Every broken marriage that is mended, every shattered life put back together, every divided family restored ... every time enemies are reconciled, we are seeing the power of Jesus' death at work.

The ultimate reconciliation of all things awaits the coming of his kingdom in its fullness. May that day come quickly. Until then, yes, healing and reconciliation are possible. It's true because he died. It's sure because he rose again.