CLERGY CORNER: Syria

Posted on 26 September 2013 by LeslieM

Syria is the focus today, not so much in the church as in the news.

One might think we have attention deficit disorder given we still have troops in harm’s way in Afghanistan. We’ve been out of Iraq for such a short time despite almost everyone’s interest (theirs and ours) in our departure. “Thank you, America. You can go home now!” Things have grown more violent in Iraq in our absence. Curious how that happens …

If there might be a moment of calm in the world, then maybe we’d refocus on the threat of North Korea, as they march toward a nuclear capacity already enjoyed (I use that word loosely) by Pakistan and Israel, to name a few.

If we were to have a lull in crises, we would surely shift our focus back to Iran’s nuclear development progressing in the shadows of Ahmadinejad’s promise to wipe Israel off the face of the map. Should we have a lull in crises, we might then focus on the conflicts of every continent, including our own.

No wonder the world barely noticed Sept. 21 was the International Day of Peace.

The United Nations and the world’s powers, including and especially our own nation, aim to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons for obvious reasons. There are fanatics who would love to kill a million people rather than a few thousand or a few hundred.

If you’ve been awake the last several weeks, you know it was the use of chemical weapons in Syria (chemical weapons sometimes referred to as “the poor man’s nuclear bomb”) which prompted the threat of military intervention by the U.S.A.

By conservative estimates, more than 100,000 people have been killed in the past two years in Syria, 2 million refugees have fled the country and, most notably, on Aug. 21 of this year, almost 1,500 men, women and children were killed with sarin gas. We may argue as to who is responsible, but no one can dispute the inhumane suffering of so many innocent people.

There are millions of peaceloving Syrians. Are they better off with the Assad regime, a Russian-supported secular government many believe is corrupt, or with rebel forces, many of whom have ties to Hezbollah and Al-Qaida? Do we even know? Do our political leaders really know?

What is unfortunate is we don’t seem to know and what is even more unfortunate is Syria is not the only mess in the world today.

Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world...”

Can we turn the other cheek to a jihadist who threatens to remove our head? Can we wage war against an enemy and love them at the same time?

Even the Prince of Peace points to the inevitability of war in this conflicted world when he says, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, though the end is not at hand. For nation will rise against nation …” (Matthew 24)

Jesus also teaches that much is expected of those to whom much is given. This is true of nations as well as people.

Thank God there are nations able to confront regimes that build concentration camps with gas chambers for these are regimes and chambers that must be torn down.

In these times when there are too many conflicts for even the world’s superpower to contain or even completely understand, then surely we will turn to the Lord.

Pray “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire…” [Psalm 46]

God’s Kingdom is our focus today, not so much in the news, as in the church.

Dennis Andrews is the Pastor at Community Presbyterian Church, “Steeple on the Beach,” located five blocks south of Hillsboro Blvd. on A1A. Sunday Services are held at 8:30 and 11 a.m.

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