Matthew 10:34-39/ Micah 4:1-4/ Ephesians 6:10-18
Peace Seeking People of God
Netflix’s Squid Game
There is a Korean TV show called Squid Game that went viral on Netflix all over the world. Everybody has been talking about this show since its release in September. Last week, I got to watch the whole season. It is about desperate people with so much debt that they cannot escape who are lured into a death game for a chance to walk out with an insane sum of money.
With this parable about the ugly aspect of capitalism comes the issue of moral ethics when people are cornered between wealth and death. There are people who actively kill others for their survival. On the other hand, there is a character who sacrifices their life for someone else. Watching this show reminded me of some stories of WWII; there were heroes who risked their lives to save others, and the evil ones who betrayed others to the Nazis. It was such a big surprise on Squid Game when an unlikely character turned out to be a hero for someone else.
Remembering our heroes
Today, we remember and honour heroes in real life who risked their lives to keep us safe. Whether they joined the army on their own volition or got drafted, they didn’t run away from danger and fear. A lot of innocent people around the world have stayed alive and safe thanks to them. I’m not calling them superheroes like Superman or Wonder Woman, but I’m not NOT calling them that. Superheroes in movies and TV shows are fictional although their struggles, fear, and courage are realistic, but those we remember and celebrate today are in real life.
Wars are horrid and evil because they sacrifice human lives. Also, because they are so horrid and scary, heroes are revealed. I once saw a post that said heroes become heroes, not because they don’t have fear, but because they acted in spite of their fear. We can call our vets heroes because we didn’t initiate any wars. Our troops were sent to defend against the evil forces to regain peace.
The Korean War
When I was preparing for the Remembrance Day speech in Kimberley, my mother said to say thank you for the Canadian soldiers that helped during the Korean War. My parents were children back then and remember the fear of death and fleeing to the south. My mother’s youngest brother was born while they were retreated to the south. They didn’t have a proper cot for the baby and had to put him in a big box; that is how my uncle’s nickname inside the family became Big Box. He lives in Osoyoos now.
Jesus on peace
There are forces of evil in every age and place. It is not the will of God, who is love, for God’s people to suffer and die. Yet, there is something odd that Jesus says in today’s gospel text. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword.” We can guess the meaning of this saying from what he says next, which is the essence of today’s lesson. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
This saying cannot be used as an excuse to be mean to one’s family. The point of this saying is for God’s people and followers of Jesus to make seeking God’s kingdom of justice as their highest goal. Peace and justice go together; there cannot be true peace without justice. Even if it is not war time, there are still evils in our communities, countries, and worldwide, and fighting the evil of injustice should be our highest goal and purpose as God’s people.
Prophet Micah on peace
Listen to the Prophet Micah; God “shall judge between many peoples and beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” God’s vision of peace on earth is turning weapons of destruction into farming tools that do not destroy but support and promote life.
As Christ has no body but ours, it is our job to carry out this mission. Jesus taught us to pick up the cross in order to follow him. Since today’s people don’t get executed on a cross like in the Roman Empire, our cross can be different things. The point of taking up the cross is to make sacrifices in our lives and take up good works of peace and justice to realize God’s kingdom in our communities. We have to fight greed, selfishness, and desire for indulgence, whatever it is that we desire. Desire and greed may be an essential part of being human; that is why we need the help of the Holy Spirit.
Military analogy in Ephesians
The military analogy in Ephesians chapter 6 seems appropriate today, although usually I do not like military analogies. We need to arm ourselves with the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to fight our human nature and work for the common good that is social justice and peace on earth.
How do we remember and give thanks?
While we give thanks for all the vets today, for they either sacrificed their lives or are living in the nightmare of PTSD for having seen the horror of the wars, let us remember that the best way to remember and appreciate their service is for us to participate in the works of justice and peace.
Therefore, let us keep our eyes open and not ignore injustice of our world. Let us start God’s works of peace and justice, starting from our won community. Being a hero doesn’t have to be grand like risking our lives. Let us fight the evil of social injustice and help those who are in need. Let us live as heroes seeking the justice and peace of God’s reign.