The Lamb of God is one of our classic Christian phrases for Jesus. The one who shows the Way, with a capital W. The one who showed us that the only way to take on violence and evil is to give ourselves – that word “sacrifice”. To let go of holding tight to our own lives, not to see ourselves and our needs as always first importance – including when our puku is rumbling like it was for the Old Wolf. Rather giving ourselves for the sake of the world. The new commandment. Which was in fact the old one going back to the beginning with God Yahweh – love God and love your neighbour. It's just that with Jesus we see it in action, how to do it: love one another as I have loved you. What's more, he says, if there's an enemy around, try the love method and see the impact it has.
I can't ever feel okay about war. But it happens, and has happened for people I love, choosing to give of themselves and be part of it.
My Dad and I had many conversations over several decades about Christian faith and his choice to sign up in the Air Force in 1941 (at least he'd get a bed at night, he reckoned). There's been a lot more pondering since he died as our family have worked together with his letters home – from training in Canada, active service with the RAF out of England and North Africa, and various prison camps across Europe. Letters now published in a book. His experience included the forced march from Fallingbostel as the war ended and panic set in among the German leadership. Plenty to imagine how my siblings and I might not have been.
Dad was a sheep farmer and the Lamb Who Came to Dinner was his kind of story. No romanticism though, but the reality of enemies and politics and being true to the Master Jesus in the face of all that.
Jeremiah's words, as māngai/mouthpiece of the Lord God, point to the vision we hold on to.
In the long game – with God it is always the long game, no giving up, no change of ultimate goal. In the long game, the vision remains firm: welfare, rongo mau. In the long game, i o tātou rā whakamutunga, God is going for peace on earth, justice and well-being for all nations. In a word, a future with hope.
kia hora te marino
kia whakapapa pounamu te moana
kia tere te kārohirohi
i mua i tō mātou huarahi
May peace be widespread
may the sea glisten like greenstone
may the shimmering like
guide us on our way.
This reflection/kauwhau was presented to a Community service in Kaeo, Northland, NZ on 24.04.2016