How will we live life as Resurrection people now that we have celebrated Easter and the empty tomb? How will we live out the Kingdom of God in a world that is still filled with conflict, war and death?
Jesus again and again reminds his followers of living a life of love and nonviolence that can be startling and difficult for us because we are so unlike God, but none the less the call is clear: We love because it is how God treats the world and this love does much more than make us “act differently.” Christ’s example of love is how we are invited to live and act. Love is how we operate.
In his book, “The Jesus Tribe,” Ronnie McBrayer shares a story about Clarence Jordan of Koinonia Farms during the height of World War Two when the country was awash with patriotism and nationalism: One day a man showed up at Clarence’s house angry that he and the people on his farm wouldn’t fight back.
Clarence answered, “You’ve got that wrong. We’ll fight.” And then he looked across the field where a mule
was sticking his head out of the barn. Clarence said, “Suppose you walked by the barn and that old mule reached out and bit you in the seat of your britches? Would you bite him back?”
The man was appalled. “Of course, I wouldn’t bite him back,” the man said. “I’d get a ‘two by four,’ and hit
him in the head!”
Clarence, with his Southern-fried wisdom answered, “See, you would fight, but you wouldn’t use that old mule’s tactics, ’cause you ain’t no mule. You wouldn’t bite or kick him because he would win. You would choose weapons that a mule can’t compete with.”
Then Clarence delivered the clincher: “Yes sir, we will fight, but we will choose the weapons. We will fight with humility, grace, justice, and forgiveness. But we’re not going to fight with the enemy’s weapons, because if we do, the enemy will whip us.”
If we refuse the Tempter’s invitation on the mountain to take up the power of violence, and we refuse the Tempter’s rules of engagement, he cannot “whip us.” Granted, violence may eventually be used against those who won’t play by the rules, the violence and death is not the end of the follower of Jesus! Crucifixions have a way of being followed by resurrections, and resurrections cannot be defeated. Thanks be to God!!