As we remember with the deepest respect those who have died in service to our country today, I can’t imagine what it’s like to receive the news that a loved one has died in war. To those families who know what it’s like, we hold you in deepest compassion.
War is one of the catastrophes of life that utterly alters human society, much like the catastrophes of epidemic disease, cultural revolutions, and toppled regimes.
This article from The Atlantic from last February recounts how catastrophes often bring economic shifts that level the playing field.
We constantly hear today that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. In Charlotte, NC both of these things are true:
- Charlotte is ranked #50 out of 50 of America’s largest cities in terms of how hard it is to move out of poverty. “This means that for a child born in poverty in Charlotte, it is harder to get out of poverty than any other large city in the United States.”
- An average of 60 people are moving to Charlotte every day because of the economic opportunities in this city.
So which is it? Are people doing well in this particular city or are they not doing well? It depends.
Throughout the United States, those of us living comfortably with thriving investments might believe that all is well. But for those struggling with unemployment or under-employment, who have no health insurance, who are shouldering heavy debt, who are the most negatively impacted by white supremacy there is a deep desire for things to be different. And people who speak of economic revolution are repudiated for being “radical.” (Note: Jesus was executed for being somewhat radical himself.)
Wars, in particular, often happen as a result of deep economic injustice. It would be noble (and holy) if we human beings simply loved our neighbors as ourselves. But we tend not to do this.
While I don’t believe God causes catastrophic war, I do believe that 1) God allows them to happen and 2) God uses tragedies for good in spite of our greed.
This doesn’t have to happen and – God knows and we know that – war brings unspeakable grief. As we remember the fallen today, let’s also remember that we were born to love God and to love our neighbors, and when we don’t there are always cosmic consequences.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Image from the movie Saving Private Ryan. We are grateful today for sacrificial love. John 15:13