Seventh Sunday after Epiphany 19 February 2017
Matthew 5.38-48 Creative strategies for non-violence in the sermon on the mount - seize the moral initiative
The sermon on the mount in which Jesus propose strategies for non violent resistance against evil/injustice are addressed to his inner circle, a remnant who have committed themselves as serious students of Jesus, those who have tasted God and now are animated only by the desire to be God’s kingdom on earth.
To stand naked in court is to expose the dehumanising policies of your creditor that strip you and the land bare. To carry a soldier’s pack two miles instead of one is to own the game and not play by his rules but yours. Those in the subservient role have seized the initiative and are no longer victims.
These strategies inspire us to resist non-violently, to be creative in how we reassert our own dignity and humanity, to refuse the inferior position. At some point, however, our non violent resistance to evil may require us to suffer. Remember that for us who have tasted God we are to be conduits of love and not hate violence and destruction. Thus non violent resistance may entail suffering.
I was devastated last year when priest friends were stripped naked in prison as a deliberate act of humiliation because of their stance against inhumane refugee policies implemented by government. I am also filled with hope and admiration because their non violent suffering shouted the Gospel of Christ in deafening songs that will be sung through eternity. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jan/28/christians-strip-off-perth-court-protest-detention-asylum-seeker-children
Lorna, I am proud of you mate!
By Desiree Snyman