On my twitter feed, the prospect of global nuclear war is sandwiched between the US Open and a video of a puppy.
Technology can rather reflect our priorities, can’t it? After all, as details of North Korea’s nuclear test emerged last Sunday, the story quickly lost the top spot on news websites. Frankly, we’re all more comfortable reading about the new royal baby than we are considering what Trump’s threats of ‘fire and fury’ mean for the future.
Last week I looked around the ‘People Power: Fighting for Peace’ exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. It traced fascinating storylines of peace fighters throughout the last century, from the conscientious objectors of WWI to the 2003 anti-war protests. Positioned right by the entrance there was a huge banner emblazoned with the words ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’.
Jesus’ call to peacemaking and reconciliation is something we must strive for both as individuals and as nations: it offers a glimpse of kingdom values in the middle of our broken mess.
There are, however, many complicated questions to consider and pray through as we wrestle with what that should look like. What happens when the call to be a peacemaker collides with the call to stand up for the oppressed, or to hunger and thirst for righteousness in society? What kind of peace do we consider worth fighting for? And do we believe in peace at any price?
At the end of the exhibition was an interview in which Vanessa Redgrave addresses the nuclear threat. Something she said made me pause:
‘It’s not an ‘it’… it’s us. It’s we that are the problem.’
What an uncomfortable thought: the idea that we’ve made weapons the enemy to take the spotlight off ourselves. We need only look at Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 to realise that hatred and violence have been there from the beginning. We’ve just managed to develop technologies which escalate the damage we can do.
Yes, I long to see a world without nuclear weapons. The root of evil, however, is not the red button, but the brokenness of humanity which prompts us to push it.
So as we lift this tangle of uncertain politics and fear to God, may we ask him to bring wisdom, sensitivity, and insight that’s far beyond human means. In the middle of fire and fury, may we keep our eyes fixed on the Prince of Peace.
Katherine is about to start her final year studying English at Cambridge University. She blogs the odd thought at chatterandscribblings.wordpress.com.