The Ecumenism of Blood

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I continue to think about the shocking murder of an aged French Catholic priest by ISIS. In particular I am struck by the reminder from the Archbishop of Canterbury that he, like many others in our world, was martyred, not as an Anglican or Catholic or Baptist, but as a Christian.  The bond of suffering becomes a bond of unity.

We become too readily acceptant of the state of disunity in which we live. Hardship sometimes breaks through this state and reminds of a more basic spiritual consanguinity.  In the last centuries Christians in India, marginalized, could no longer afford their divided state.  We now have our eyes opened to something similar.

We already share, with Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, and Reformed, a single baptism of water.  In the early Church they spoke of a baptism in blood undergone by martyrs as they were being prepared for the font. In a similar way, in a terrible way, may this hard moment in world history as well awaken us to having 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism.' (Ephesians 4:1)

Peace

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Range and Reality of Christian Truth -- Part 3

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In recent days, we all heard about the  horrendous news of the murder of the old French priest by ISIS. We are dealing here with the demonic, and I am consoled that Another has dealt with him, once and for all and long ago.

This series has sought to present the range of claims which our faith offers simultaneously. The great reformer Martin Luther once said that God has a right hand, and a left. In His right is the gospel of peace and of forgiveness. We need to hear Jesus' voice in the Sermon on the Mount calling us to turn the cheek and going the extra mile. He calls us to witness to the intrusion of God's kingdom.

But for now we also live in the old aeon, the 'not yet.'  God's left hand is also at work. St. Augustine offered the parameters of a 'just war' which is defensive, proportionate, authoritative, and necessary.  Thomas Aquinas discussed just war under the category of 'defending widows and orphans.'  Surely fighting back against terror fits such definitions classically.  

At the same time Christian theology has a long history of seeking to understand the nature and role in God's purposes of other religions, especially Islam. Our history of mission, including among Muslims, has included service as well as witness.

Finally we as Christians hear the 'distant triumph song.'  We believe that on the last day Christ himself will mete out judgment  and mercy beyond our human understanding. Here once again the gospel offers a fugue with notes of deep realism and hope.

Peace

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