We live in a culture of fear. Everywhere we go, people tell us that we are all part of the army in the so-called war on terrorism. The terrorists are ready to strike. Watch out for those suspicious people and report them to the government. Watch out!
I live fifteen minutes from the Watch Out Capital of the nation near Ft. Meade, Maryland, the National Security Agency, commonly referred to as “No Such Agency.” It is an agency that was born from the government’s fear of what people might be doing in their homes or workplaces. Many people who work at NSA must constantly be “on guard;” they are, for all intents and purposes, spies.
Growing up, I had twin friends, Matt and Carl, whose parents worked NSA. At age 12, Matt and Carl weren’t even allowed to bike to the end of the block or go into the ocean by themselves. I knew many other kids with similar stories. It is sad for me to see people miss out on life like that. It is sad that so many people live in fear. I want to tell them about the Prince of Peace. I want to tell them that Jesus says we don’t have to worry about our safety and provision.
I want to tell them about the life abundant in Christ in which Christ gives us his abiding peace, a peace that lets him content with having “no place to lay [his] head.” A peace that leads him to preach “bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse” and “love your enemies” and then live that very peace at the cross: Father, forgive them. Father, forgive them.
But the even sadder thing is that my church at home is full of people who work at NSA, full of fear. Our church is not the only one. Members of the body of Christ all over the United States are missing out on this peace and they are turning against the Way of Christ and turning to violence.
This is why when military recruiters go out they often target church youth groups. Cross and gun in hand, lovers of Jesus head off for battle, being told a convincing lie that those in Nazi Germany also believed: that killing can bring healing to our broken world. Killing as healing. Cross and gun, God with us, Gott mit uns, as Nazi soldiers wore on their belts during World War II.
We have forgotten that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword” and that the only acceptable traditions in Christian history for war are the pacifist and the just war theory. Preemptive war is out. A holy war for democracy is out.
It is time to allow the Prince of Peace to reign in our lives and welcome his profound peace. Let the Prince of Peace in.