Kingdom come is coming, in small yet invasive ways...

Follow along with us as each week we meet for service to those in our neighborhood, common meals, study of Jesus' teachings and how to live them, as well as Sabbath worship at the Buffalo Vineyard City Church .

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sacrifices on the Altar

Taps had been played, the three-volley salute had been fired, and now, surprisingly quickly, the military band was marching away. The repetitive clicks of the drummer's sticks as they marked time, the click of their polished boots on the pavement, both sounded sounded eerily similar to the clicking gears of a machine.

I looked down the row of graves behind where they were laying the remains of my wife's cousin, Cpl. Frank R. Gross. Below the names of the other young men and women, I noticed a methodical rhythm in the dates listed:

AUG 5 2005, AUG 6 2005, AUG 7 2005, AUG 9 2005, AUG 11 2005, AUG 12 2005, AUG 13 2005...

Tears had already been welling up in my eyes as Aunt Toni and Uncle Craig knelt beside Frankie to say their final good byes. Now they began to flow freely. My heart started to race; my fists clenched up.

The machine of the Empire has been chewing up and spitting these kids out. Despite what I'm sure was genuine sincerity on the part of the individual soldiers that led the services, there was a sense that everything here was designed to keep the destructive machine moving along without too much interruption. This entire place, acre after acre of neatly manicured lawns and pure white tombstones, was designed to whitewash the death and decay caused by our violent self-preservation. How many more must we lay as sacrifices on the altar before our idols of comfort and prosperity?

War is a tragedy caused by the sin and evil of all mankind, including my own. Yet there is hope, and we can all, myself included, be a part of this hope...

We are called to be messengers of the good news that there is freedom from sin and evil; the good news that we can have hope in the midst of the tragedies caused by sin and evil. We can live life in the Spirit of Jesus: loving our enemies, practicing non-violence even when they come to kill us, offering forgiveness and reconciliation even in our death, knowing that our current sufferings pale in comparison to the glory set before us. This is our hope, and this is how we escape and even defeat evil.

How far I am from this! However, may this hope be made a reality among us all!

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