Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Blessed are the peacemakers"

I missed the anti-war rally Monday night at Canaan Baptist Church, but I've been hearing that Dr. Christopher Bullock's sermon rocked the house.
I asked him if I could post the text, and he readily agreed. Even though the printed word is no substitute for hearing a preacher like Dr. Bullock, I can almost hear his sonorous tones as I read the prepared text.
Sermon: “Blessed Are the Peacemakers”
August 20, 2007
Dr. Christopher Alan Bullock

Our world, indeed our nation, aches with the need for a spirit of hope, peace and truthfulness. Our national condition is extremely serious. We are living in perilous times. We must make sense out of nonsense. We must bring order to disorder. We have pitiful poverty in a land of plenty. The poor are oppressed. The rich are filled with greed. Our priorities must be food to feed the hungry, shelter for the homeless, jobs for the unemployed, a livable wage for the employed, comfort for the aged, affordable housing, quality education for our children, judicial reform, peace among nations and power for the powerless.
Thus, the need for America is not the raging of war in Iraq or the threat of more war in Iran and North Korea. The war in Iraq is wrong and it can’t get right. America must stop talking peace while raging war. We need to wind down this war and bring our brave troops home. We have lost too much and suffered too much as a country. We cannot continue, as Bill Clinton said, to jail, kill, bomb or occupy countries because we do not
like their leaders or their particular form of government.
I say we need to build bridges – bridges of hope – bridges of diplomacy and bridges of dialogue. This war is costing us $12 billion dollars a month now. We ought to be outraged at the misplaced priorities of the Bush Administration. We must embrace a new moral assignment of peace. America’s economic priorities must shift from wars and rumors of more war to a comprehensive and bold domestic agenda at home. As we sit here tonight, our infrastructure is crumbling. Dilapidated roads, dams and bridges are collapsing. Let’s shift our economic priorities. Our airports, highways and pipelines are beyond problematic. The awful devastation of hurricane Katrina revealed to the world that America’s infrastructure is in desperate need of repair and restoration. Think of what could be done with $12 billion dollars. We could increase security on this soil. We could fix the health care crisis…49 million Americans don’t have health insurance. We could start new economic initiatives in underserved urban markets. The American people deserve better and the world deserves better…and we can do better.
At this point in his notes, Dr. Bullock refers to some sad statistics relating to the surge, citing the Brookings Institute Iraq Index and
U.S. Troops Added As A Result Of the Escalation: 25,000
Coalition Troops Withdrawn (non-U.S.): 3,142
U.S. Fatalities: 680
U.S. Wounded: 5,055
Dr. Bullock continued:
America’s greatest need is to engage in concrete moral actions that lead to peace. We need peaceful and just actions that speak to humanity’s prevailing need for more unity, community and opportunity. How do we get to where we need to be? Mohandas Gandhi warned mankind to avoid what he called the seven social sins:
Politics without principle
Wealth without work
Commerce without morality
Pleasure without conscience
Education without character
Science without humanity (and)
Worship without sacrifice.
How do we respond to the reality of so much violence in our midst? Rev. Martin Luther King said …“We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or we will perish together as fools.” William McKinley said…God will keep no nation in supreme peace that will not do supreme duty. And, that duty, as the prophet Micah said is…“to do justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with God.”
The Gospel is the most revolutionary manifesto in human history. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Children of God.” An eye for an eye won’t work. One can always find a cause for vengeful actions. But, bold vision and imagination opens up new priorities, new perspectives and new possibilities. Lets get beyond “either/or" thinking with two options; your position verses mine. Instead, let’s open up new
avenues. Look at our needs. Look at our common ground. Raise more noble ambitions. Bold vision provides the roadmap for action to change the world.
Without a vision, the people perish. I see a new vision of global goodness. One that is based on values, human rights and economic justice. One that uses non-violent means to resolve differences. Talk it out, not fight it out!
I see a new vision. One where the wicked will cease from troubling and the weary will be at rest. So let us lay aside every weight and sin that so easily besets us. The harvest is
plenteous, but the laborers are few. So let us not get weary in well doing, for we shall reap if we faint not. Walk together children and don’t get weary. Pray together children and don’t get weary. Sing together children and don’t get weary. Vote together children and don’t get weary. March together children and don’t get weary. Join hand to hand. Heart to heart, and don’t get weary. We shall reap if we faint not. Blessed are the peacemakers. Go in peace ye messengers of peace.
God bless you and keep the faith.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate the spirit of this article and the passion behind it, but I object to the use of out-of-context Bible references used to support it. For instance, "an eye for an eye won't work". An 'eye for an eye" is not a command for vengence, but a just limitation - restricting escalation and it is a Biblical principle. How can you quote the Bible as both unworkable and yet supportive of your opinions? The new vision of global goodness when the wicked will cease from their troubling will only come under the reign of Jesus Christ as described in Isaiah 9.6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

1:46 AM, September 04, 2007  

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