Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Peace-loving defiance......

I am writing this following announcements last week of an intended new generation of anti-missile defences, being considered by USA, UK and Europe. Son of Star Wars is a missile system intended to intercept possible nuclear missiles from rogue states or terrorist extremists. Scotland and Yorkshire are the most feasible sites for this new generation of defence hardware, if it is to be situated in the UK - a possibility at present being dismissed by 'those who know'. No one doubts that we live in an unsafe world; and that security is a key priority of all governments who can afford it.

But linked to this defence system are inevitable offence systems, and there are strong arguments and cogent reasons for asking whether this is simply another rationalised level of proliferation. I don't pretend to understand military strategy, the undercurents and sub-plots of political and international tensions. And no doubt there is 'credible intelligence' of a real threat, or in the jargon, 'clear and present danger'. But I am still sceptical, unable to trust the media who report what the government purports to be the case. How many exclusive exposures are orchestrated leaks? Anyway, recent history of 'dodgy' intelligence dossiers on weapons of mass destruction(WMD), of dubious defence budgets linked to bribing scandals, of permastain allegations of deception against senior politicians from Prime Minister to Lord Advocate, has created a climate in which trust does not flourish.

Isaiah of Jerusalem knew a thing or two about weapons of mass destruction, and about the erosion of trust in the integrity of the powerful. The sword, when wielded by a ten thousand strong professionally hardened army was the preferred WMD of the ancient world. And Isaiah, seeing the devastation of his home city, saw also a different future, not yet - but coming, when Jerusalem would be a centre of healing and wholeness, of blessing and benediction, of law and liberty, attracting the nations through the magnetism of promised shalom.

This Lent, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem is to pray for the peace of our world's great cities. Cities are centres of population, and therefore frontline targets for those who walk the ways of war, terror, and destructive violence, those forces that erupt from the fears, hates and enmities embedded in our fallenness. Isaiah 2. 1-5 is an antidote to those visions of the future that fear the worst; the passage is an exercise in hopeful imagination.
Again, I've written three Haiku verses in the classic 5x7x5 form, as respectively, condensed hopefulness, daring invitation, and peace-loving defiance:

Isaianic Haiku

Walk the ways of God -
the politics of shalom
make peace the new norm.
Swords into ploughshares -
weapons for food production,
not mass destruction.
Double negative,
"We won't study war no more".
Future positive!

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