Monday, March 19, 2007
Reflection on the War Protest
This past weekend, my buddy David and I drove up to Washington, D.C. to attend the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq – “United Under the Cross Against the War.” This was my first experience at protest. The event started with a worship service at the National Cathedral where 3000 Christians came together for worship. Admittedly, I’d never seen so many Christians united in the name of Jesus for anything. It was truly amazing! I think that there were about 5 mainline denominations represented.
Following the service, all 3000 people (or so it seemed) marched down Massachusetts Avenue toward the White House. As we marched down Embassy Row, it seemed as though the whole world was watching us as we proclaimed that America is not the way the truth and the life, but that Jesus Christ is. Watching the crowd meander down Massachusetts Ave. behind me was really a beautiful site, as people raised their faux candles and sang church camp songs and hymns the entire 3.6 miles. I think that my favorite part of the march was meeting Matt and Angela, a couple from Texas who are about to move to Reba House. Oh, and seeing the Psalters right behind me was great, too! But, I didn’t get to say much to them, as they were kind of setting the marching pace with their drums and tambourines. Oh, and Bill Mefford met us at the White House. That’s always a bonus!
When we got to the White House, things seemed to simmer down a bit. Over 100 people got arrested, but there didn’t seem to be any more cohesion to the group of 3000. Much of the arresting seemed staged, but I suppose that the police are used to such things by now.
On the way out of Arlington, on our way home, David asked me what I thought. In a tired, cynical voice, I said, “I just have to ask the ‘so what’ question. I’m not sure I understand what all of this effected.” It was a good experience all-in-all, but the main thing that I realized is something that Greg Leffel says on multiple occasions, “the kingdom is here but not in its fullness.” That’s how I felt this weekend. The kingdom is here, and maybe this was evidence of that fact, but sometimes it seems like the evidence that the kingdom of God is not here in its fullness is greater and heavier on my heart. Evidence like 1000s of people continuing to die because of the war in Iraq, and 1000s of people continuing to die in Darfur because there’s no oil there, or the statistics that we all know about food consumption in the United States, and the thing that seems to me to be the saddest is that so many of these things get boiled down to politics and that’s simply not the case. Yet, I must say that whether or not I can answer the “so what” question, I have to continue to stand for what is right, in the name of Jesus, because it seems that this is the Gospel thing to do.