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January 18th Weekly Meditation

I offer this a day earlier than usual in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Weekly Meditation

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth...Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. -Matthew 5:5&9

There was a recent news story about airlines adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward anyone who disrupts a flight. According to the airline industry there has been a marked increase of "bad behavior" onboard flights. People are becoming angry and abusive toward flight attendants and harassing fellow passengers. Now, they will be banned from future flights and face stiff fines and even jail time.

It may just be in my own mind, but I see this as another example of the growing violence in our culture today. Video of people screaming at store employees, reports of road rage on the highways, and the seemingly endless news accounts of drive-by shootings, homicides and domestic violence reinforce this belief for me. That is not even to mention the violence that took place at our nation's Capitol and the threat of more violence during this week ahead.

I also believe this culture of violence is one we ourselves have created and allowed to grow. Years ago, I remember people blaming violent movies and video games for making us more violent, and perhaps such things have contributed to the problem. I also cannot help but think our growing obsession with guns along with laws such as "Stand Your Ground" have also played a role. We cannot worship guns and turn them into a sacred idol, as our society does, and expect violence to go down.

As we remember and honor the life and lessons of Martin Luther King Jr., we ought to reflect on his call to non-violence. Non-violence was a core principle for Rev. King and a key to his work for civil rights. Among his writings, King argued that for non-violence to be effective we must have "a deep faith in the future" and trust that "The universe is on the side of justice." (MLK, Stride Toward Freedom, 1958)

I worry that we have lost our "deep faith in the future" and our hope in the coming kingdom of God. I fear that the resort to violence is our way of seizing power from God because we no longer believe God has the power to remake our world.

As we observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, may we commit ourselves once again to the principles of God's kingdom that Rev. King often proclaimed; principles of peace, and justice, love, and compassion, non-violence, and a willingness to treat one another as we would like others to treat us. There is no place for unrestrained violence in the Christian life. There is no room for worldly idols. Our hope must be in God and the future God is leading us toward in Jesus Christ.

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