Last night I watched the mystery melodrama of Foyle's War, season 1, episode 3, called "A Lesson In Murder." The setting of the show takes place in London, or near it, at the beginning of World War II. This particular show opens with a conscientious objector arguing his case before the war board protesting that he should not be forced to be a soldier. He cries out, "War is just a lesson in murder." By the end of this melodrama, we see that maybe he is the only person who understood the truth, though he was killed by the police in prison for being a conscientious objector.
The show beautifully handles the tensions of war. We see another conscientious objector going to war recognizing that he had anger in his heart at the judge who threw the first person in jail. And if he had such anger against this judge, he might as well use it on the Germans. We see a father having bribed the same judge so that his son would not have to go to war; this father was a World War 1 war hero who saw so many comrades blown to pieces. He wanted to protect his son.
Yesterday, I read another chapter of the book "The Great And Holy War: How World War I Became A Religious Crusade" by Philip Jenkins. That long title sums up the book. The churches of each nation demonized the other "enemy" nations. Many different reasons existed for World War I, but the church of Jesus Christ on both sides made it into a "holy War." The result: Christians killed Christians. That just doesn't make sense, does it? How can followers of Jesus Christ be killing each other? Why should they be killing anyone, whether a person is Christian or non-Christian? Chapter 8 begins with a quote from a writer/theologian Leonhard Ragaz: "So it is with all the advances of the Kingdom of Heaven. They are hindered less by the world than by a Christianity that has bound itself to this world." If Christians would have stood up for the kingdom of God and the Prince of Peace, there may have been no war, or at least the bloodshed would have been significantly less. Instead, the Christians received a "lesson in murder" and the bloodshed was as high as a horse's bridle.
These thoughts all come on the day after a young man was shot by police just two miles away. The police had been chasing him (I forgot the reason), he crashed his car into another car, and then he opened fire on the police. Now he is dead. The story worsens. The police contact the police where he had lived, so that they would contact the parents. Those police discover that his parents and sibling had been murdered - the suspect- the young man who had been shot. Who taught him this lesson in murder? Why was he at war? Of course, the news media told us about two young people who were caught in Canada planning to do a Valentine's Day massacre at a shopping mall. Who gave them their lesson in murder? To whom are they at war?
Violence reigns in our culture. Story after story flows from the news of people killing each other, not just each other, but whole families or groups of people. Why are we in such an internal battle? Who gave us a lesson in murder? Where is the war?
Let's pray that the Prince of Peace will intervene.