Daily Office Readings for Friday of Proper 7: Year 1
“He said to them, ‘But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, “And he was counted among the lawless”; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.’ They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough: (Luke 22: 36 to 38).
I have studied the Amish. What I admire about the Amish is that they really walk their faith. Their faith however, includes pacifism. They are among the most pacifist people on the face of the earth. Because of this they were completely decimated in Europe because of their refusal to defend themselves. They found safety in the “armed” American Colonies, Pennsylvania in particular.
The Hebrew Testament is replete with examples of God assisting the fighting efforts to fulfill God’s plan for the Israelites, and, by extension, all humanity. Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David and others fought to accomplish God’s will for us today. Now, in our Gospel reading for today, we have our Lord Jesus saying “sell what you can and buy a sword because the day is going to come that you will need it.”
The sword was the personal protection of that day. The sword was not a hunting tool witch could be said of the spear or bow and arrow. It was not used to prepare food as is a knife. No, the sword was specifically made for use as a weapon against human oppression. Today’s sword is a gun.
As a thirty year United States Marine, now retired but still true to what it means to be a Marine, I support the right to have and use guns as personal protection. Some may ask how I balance being a gun owner with being a priest. I think our Lord Jesus, speaking to the future Christian priests of the New Testament, answers that question. “He replied [regarding having two weapons], ‘It is enough.” Some interpreters and commentaries will try to read something else into Jesus’ words. I say, Jesus said it, and it is what it is.
Let us learn from the European lesson in the history of the Amish, as well as God’s guidance with Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David and others. And let us hear what our Lord Jesus says about protecting our continued way of Christian life after His sacrifice. This is something we each must ponder with God’s help in our Sabbath time. Thank You Lord Jesus.
For this evening and tomorrow day my friends; Shabbat Shalom.
Let us live in order that we might love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John