Thursday, December 31, 2015

Will 2016 Bring Peace?

A few quotes from religious and political leaders during this holiday season:

From Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: “Christianity is facing elimination in the Middle East at the hands of an Islamic State apocalypse.”
From Chief Rabbi Ephriam Mirvis: “It has been reported that persecution of Christians persists in over a hundred countries, more than for any other religion.”
From Pope Francis: “We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright  trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war. It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war.”
From President Obama: Those of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing. Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.”
From Senator Ted Cruz: “Christians who are being targeted, for genocide, for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven to them. But President Obama refuses to do that.”
From Donald Trump: “I’m a good Christian. If I become president, we’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every store. You can leave happy holidays at the corner.” (Okay, I’ll let the other quotes stand on their own. But as a Christian, I have to say this is not high on the list of changes I’d like to see in my country. And FYI Mr. Trump: I don’t know many “good” Christians. Maybe not any. Our only goodness is Christ's goodness in us.)
From Queen Elizabeth: “It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but the gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’.”
The New Year will likely bring more war, less peace. It will give a new president to the United States. Who will secure that role and lead our nation? The next twelve months will bring throngs attempting to establish new homes in foreign lands. How many? Where will they go? What will they do? Who are they?

Will there be more mass shootings? Will we lose our grasp on what remains of freedom? Will we meet God’s judgement?
As we begin 2016, we face a year most certainly destined to bring great change, terror, dismay, disaster. Hope. Resolution. Promise. Redemption. The ways of God shine a light in the darkness. Peace? For the whole world? Maybe not this year. But one day. As for the redeemed…
From Jesus: “I have told you these things that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

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