― Stephenie Meyer,
and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
Near the end of Daniel's prophecy, the prophet heard these words, as it were, from the mouth of God. The nation of Israel had descended into Sheol, or captivity & the God of Israel was revealing to His servant what would transpire in the Last Days, when His Hand of Judgment fell in finality on this peculiar nation. Israel, as the Nation of Priests they were, had, for the most part, shirked their responsibilities & so were slowly being removed from office. There were those in Israel who fulfilled their duties & it was these who would so shine their light before men, that they would see their good works & praise their Father in Heaven.
Fast forward to today: in today's world, we see much that should not be. Lately, the United Kingdom is reeling from the most recent terror attack.Whoever was behind this abominable act of terror, it was not unprovoked, though definitely unconscionable. In my own home-state of Montana, several towns east of where I live, in fact, a police officer lost his life in an altercation with several homegrown terrorists. We like to lay the blame at religion's door & truly, much of it should rest there, but we as Christians ( I'm speaking corporately here, not necessarily of any individual, or individuals ) must shoulder much of the blame as well.
Going back into ancient history, it should be noted that while many individual Christians have followed in the footsteps of Jesus, the majority have followed the way of the world, taking up the sword & thus dying by the sword. When Jesus told His disciples to arm themselves, He was not instructing them to fight for the Kingdom of Heaven, He was telling them to prepare to defend themselves if necessary. In today's vernacular, it would be like buying a gun for protection.Israel's priestly duty was to spread the knowledge of the Kingdom of Heaven, not through conquest & domination, but through sharing & showing the Love of God!
In today's world, we seem to face much the same situation. In this country especially, the majority of Christendom seems almost to be more rabid in their war-like spirit than many who do not even name the name of Christ, or call themselves Christians. Many of those who call themselves Christians seem to be among the loudest supporters of those who would bomb, say the Muslims, out of existence. It is hard to say that many or most with whom the US has warred over the the past hundred years or so do not deserve the treatment that has been heaped like ashes on their heads, but the leaders of this nation, along with many Christians, have most certainly not shown themselves to be very Christ-like when it comes to foreign policy!
Going to the aid of a certain nation or people in distress is laudable & certainly within the purview of a Nation of Priests, but the foreign policy of this nation's leaders seems to have gone far beyond that! It would seem that it is not enough to merely coexist with our neighbor, treating them as we would wish to be treated. We must make sure that they adhere to our religion & follow our rules. If they do neither, it seems, they must die!
Okay, enough with the negativity! What can we do about it? 'Isn't this kinda like closing the gate after the horse gets out?' Like I recently posted ( on FB ) in response to a similar discussion, 'The problem is way older than US!' So, what do we do? What CAN we do? Well, we already have an age-old problem that seems to be only getting worse. The escalation of terror attacks world-wide only hammers the point further home that the horses have already gotten out. It seems almost worthwhile to close the gate, even to try calling the horses back, but you know horses; once they've found freedom...............................
The answer to the problem, of course, is Love! No, we probably won't seem to make much headway at first, but then, 'how far has the policy of 'kill or be killed' gotten the US?' I'm not necessarily advocating flowers in rifle-barrels, but how about no rifles at all? Rather than going to war, why don't we just stay here & defend ourselves? Again, we're faced with the 'it's a bit late' scenario, but really, 'IS it too late?' The Power of Love is a curious thing; it can raise the dead, why not stop war?
When more people, Christians in particular, begin to adopt a 'live & let live' policy rather than a 'kill or be killed' stance, we might see war become less & less popular! In order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, etc, it is often necessary, unfortunately, to bear the sword, or the gun, as the case may be, but never should these weapons be used to gain territory, or to terrorize a population.
As may be noted in the night sky & as many astronomers have observed, stars seem to burn brightest when they are surrounded by darkness. As Christians, we are the Light of the World; no 'ifs', 'ands', or 'buts' about it! Followers of Jesus the Christ are not merely to let the Light shine through us, we ARE that Light! If we would simply remember that as a nation & start ACTING our part, even though we are surrounded by darkness, we will overcome that darkness, just as Jesus overcame the darkness in His world!
Though our situation in this day & age is somewhat different that the one they faced, our job as a Narration of Priests has not changed. No longer is it one certain people that make up that 'nation' though; America, for instance, is not that Nation, nor is any other nation on earth. It is people from all walks of life, Christians only some would say ( that may be a discussion for another day ), who love their neighbor as they love themselves, treating others as they want to be treated, who make up this Nation.
May we become aware of the Christ Within,
Charles Haddon Shank