ECCLESIOLOGICAL ETCHINGS April 16, 2023 Let us remember these words from 1 John 4:20: "Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen."
On April 13, 1919, Brigadier-General Dyer of the British military had his soldiers open fire on a peaceful gathering in the Jallianwala Bagh public garden in the northern Indian city of Amritsar. It is thought that nearly 1,000 people, including children, were killed in a 10-minute barrage of gunfire. In the days immediately following the massacre, there was a violent response by the people of India. Amidst ‘an eye for an eye’ mentality, Gandhi’s voice began to be heard as an alternative, and on April 16 (today is the anniversary), a nonviolent response of prayer and fasting was started. It was not passivity toward the violent acts committed but seen as active nonviolence. And though many perceived it as meaningless and ineffective, it would become the greatest means of social change, not only in India but throughout the world. To see the enemy as a beloved child of God is not easy, but it is the only way toward genuine reconciliation and the peace envisioned by Jesus.
I cannot hate a brother or sister and love you, O Lord of Life. That’s not easy to say and definitely not easy to do. I’m not suggesting that what they have done is good, but I ask for your help and encouragement as I strive to live in the ways of Jesus. It’s the only way if we desire to see real and lasting change. Amen.