No More of This!
“When those with him saw what was happening , they said, ‘Master, shall we fight?’ One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him.” – Luke 22:49-51
In Christ a kingdom of light breaks in, breaks out. In Christ God’s realm shines inside our shadows. It doesn’t supplant the old realm of “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, fight for a friend, knock your enemy down.” Instead, it lives inside that older, corrupted kingdom as an alternative reality, pressing up against the shadows, calling us to step out of the old broken order and into the light.
God’s kingdom does not forcefully conquer the rule of violence. It does not forcibly upend the realm of revenge. Christ’s love does not conquer bloodshed. Instead, the two exist simultaneously. And Christians are called, coaxed, invited, compelled to live in God’s reign, not the world’s; under Christ’s rule; not the world’s, according to Christ’s logic, not the world’s.
Although we know that God’s kingdom has not yet been fully realized, Christians believe that God’s reign has already begun. And when we forget? When we’re tempted to buy into the world’s violent logic? We should remember that our savior upbraided a friend who drew a sword and tried to save him. “No more of this!” And then Jesus turned and gently healed a man who was out to kill him. Could he be any more obvious?
It’s time to lay our weapons down. We are called to live in a peaceful Kingdom, even though violence rages all around.
Dear God, give us the strength, the grit and the grace necessary to live inside your peaceful realm.
Matt Fitzgerald is the Senior Pastor of St. Pauls United Church of Christ in Chicago. He is the host of “Preachers on Preaching,” a weekly podcast sponsored by The Christian Century.