Searching For Relevance
Will History Repeat? I Hope Not!
April 7, 2017
Once again, I am saddened by events in the Middle East as innocent civilians have been subjected to chemical horrors beyond our imagination in what has become a violent wasteland known by the name of Syria. It is a tragedy beyond belief — beyond human decency. I had always believed that by this time in history, humanity would have moved beyond such disregard for human life. The Reality is, however . . . people being people, we always seem to exist on the precipice between choosing between what’s good or evil; hopeful or expedient; mutually reward or self-serving; and in the process forget (or don’t care) that every action has an “opposite and equal reaction” — wherein the ends do not always justify the means, and even our best of decisions birth unanticipated consequences. The sum total of which is . . . all our actions or inactions accumulate and build until even the most disparate of events converge into an explosion that no one can manage, control, or understand. This is what Walter Rauschenbusch, a pastor/theologian of one hundred years ago, interpreted as the distinction between “sin” and “evil”. Sin being the little deeds and white lies that find a common base in anger or revenge between seemingly unrelated groups or nations that evolve into a broader platform of general acceptance (i.e. “politics makes strange bedfellows) that produce outcomes that are normally incomprehensible (i.e. wars, riots, genocides, etc.)
It is curious and maybe no coincidence that this tragedy in Syria, involving the use of nerve gas, takes place on the 100th Anniversary of WW I — a global conflict that freely employed the use of chemical weapons — a global conflict President Wilson called: “The War to End All Wars” — which it obviously didn’t!!!!! Instead, that war catapulted us into a century of unrest and division. What fueled the initial sparks of that hundred year journey, leaving behind the enmeshed roots of issues we are still attempting to untangle today?
1) International arguments involving the economics of global resources and territory
2) The rise in nationalism around the world that fueled feuds already existing between monarchies and ethnic groups, and concurrent to all of this
3) A race to military superiority — especially between Britain and Germany
All of which set the stage for the one spark — one simple act, the assassination of archDuke Franz Ferdinand - an inconsequential royal — really — to light the fire of a global conflict that would eventually take the lives of 37 million individuals, both military and civilian.
If you believe that history can be repeated, there are so many arrows that currently point in the same direction these days, and I fervently pray for wisdom, patience, and careful consideration on the part of all leaders of our world at this time. Let us never forget, that despite the calamities and chaos we may see and feel — perhaps even a justifiable anger — Christ calls us to be “peacemakers” — Christ would have remember that . . . we are to be Easter Disciples whose core beliefs emanate from the message of Resurrection Hope — the belief that God can and will bring LIFE from even the most dire of situations leading us from a cross to a cross — from a dark Friday to a sunlit Easter morn!!!
May this message be the compass that directs our world in the days ahead. May this goal and ideal, no matter how preposterous it may seem, be the light that guides all of us in our individual thoughts as well as our subsequent, corporate, decisions that we might be led, NOT down the road of incessant conflict, but evolving peace.
Rev. Keith A. Haemmelmann