Thursday, October 23, 2014

In considering heroes and the presence of evil

As I sit down to write this morning, my mind is in a jumble. The Gospel this week (Matthew 22.34-46) is really about 2 things: love and authority. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul mind and strength and your neighbour with everything you have. On this, hangs all the law and the prophets. I remember telling the congregation recently, that what the law was good for, was for making people inoffensive to God and to neighbour. It was to work to keep them from sinning against the other, be it God or neighbour or both.

I find that statement, “love your neighbour” very difficult having just watched a video from the House of Commons, where the Sergeant at Arms, retired RCMP member Kevin Vickers, is fervently applauded for his actions yesterday in front of the Library at the House of Commons. His actions were heroic and he more than likely saved a number of lives – but why were they necessary? I understand why Vickers did what he did. He defended the people in his care and charge – like a good shepherd should. But do not the people around him understand just how costly such an act was? The very people who could have made it more difficult to commit such sin, are applauding a man who had to take a life and give that life which is taken little to no regard... what does that say about us as Canadians?

Please don’t misunderstand or misinterpret me: what Kevin Vickers did was heroic. No question. But it seems to me that the people who could be working on this issue, regardless of party or stripe, needs to sit down, make a good accounting of the leadership, or lack thereof, of this country and give their collective heads a good shake. As I consider the video, the applause for Vickers felt like a pat on the back for those who were applauding and I for one, didn’t like it. I think we should say a thank you and give to all those men and women who serve us, who put themselves in harm’s way every day, what they need so that we keep them strong to keep our country, the true North, strong and free. We as a country, needed Kevin Vickers yesterday. And Vickers’ heroic acts were necessary because of choices that people in government have made and have failed to countenanced the blow back of the decision to keep jihadists here in the country.   How quickly now, will the laws change in this country to allow young men and women to leave the country to join a jihadist movement but then strip them of the ability to re-enter the country because of what they might do here at home? It will be something to watch for.

And how do we reach out to the Muslim community? For certain there is going to be the desire for recriminations and a thirst for some sort of revenge. It is human nature. This senseless act of violence by a man who has been taken in by a lie – a twisted, warped understanding of Islam – needs to be confronted in this country by genuine charity, compassion and forgiveness. Against such things, there is no law. There are two families who suffered losses yesterday: (1) the family of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who gave his life in service to his country, protecting what we hold most dear and (2) the family of the gunman who lost a son to a lie and then to the gun of a Peace Officer.

I can find nothing to be zealously enthusiastic about over what happened yesterday. I cannot in good conscience feverishly celebrate the taking of a life, no matter how noble it might seem at the time. I can only hope, and to teach, the necessity to love and to hold authority correctly, for the good of every person.  And I pray that we as a nation react better to such evil in our midst in better and appropriate ways in the days ahead.


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