God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

David and Goliath

Have you ever struggled with the issue of Holy violence?  The text I preached on this Sunday was David and Goliath.  A beloved story from most every one's childhood, who doesn't love the little guy defeating the giant.  When my son was little we spent our days killing giants and defeating enemies, we had sword battles and dragon rides hoping to defeat evil.  Even then, I had wanted to have a son who grew up knowing that violence was wrong and that war didn't solve anything, but until he encountered his first sword and began playing Robin Hood, he had never taken to any toy we had.  But Robin Hood struck a chord with him and we battled the sheriff over and over again, helping the poor, defeating the evil. We fought the giant of injustice where wrong was clear for people were in poverty.  

So here I am with a text that says:
36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you."
 45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."  1 Samuel 17
Then David picks up his five smooth stones uses one and kills Goliath, cuts of his head and displays it around town.  The Lord had given him the victory.  But ... where is God in this story?  Do I want to believe in a God who delivers military victories to his people?  Do I want to believe in a God who condones violence,, if it is for the greater good?  I know I didn't buy it when reading Reinhold Nieburh in seminar. We can make rationalizations and come up with plans for war, but that does not mean it is just and it does not mean God is on your side.  After all as we look out at the world how many acts of violence have been committed in the name of God?  I will admit I took an easy way out and just said I was sure how I felt about God being on the side of violence.  And spoke about killing the giants of injustice.  That we each have a smooth stone and
that we can pick up to battle a giant of poverty, discrimination, violence, preventable diseases, destruction of the environment...

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