It could very well become a hot summer; perhaps not only literally speaking, but figuratively as well. Whereas in the past people use the summer to go on holiday, it now seems to have become a time to go out demonstrating ending in rioting.

A quick look into rioting shows a mass of articles in newspapers about the correlation between rioting and frustrations.

As its seems the words of Martin Luther King are becoming true again: If it’s true that ’a riot is the language of the unheard’, then a lot of people around the world are becoming fluent in that particular dialect.

It is undeniable that a lot of frustration, annoyance and agitation stands at the basis for the mass outbreak of riots worldwide.

But, in all these rioting and expressions of frustrations to try to create a different world, the words of the prophet Isaiah spring to mind.

 

In Isiah 42:1-3 it reads: Here is my Servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;I have put my spirit upon him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up His voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will faithfully bring forth justice.

What is prophesied by Isaiah stands in contrast to the outcry of many on the streets, often turning into violence at the end. Those on the street uttering their frustration hope to make an everlasting change by going demonstrate and make their voices heard.

Unfortunately, even if changes occur because of such actions, they do not last forever. History teaches us that before we know it, we’re back into a situation of what is felt to be wrong, leading again into frustrations and feelings of hurt. History simply repeats itself and it appears impossible to escape from this merry go round. 

On the other hand, what Jesus begun has captured the world and more than anything else it has been everlasting as it has become the basis of our society in which care and support for each other are so important. Jesus never started a riot or asked those believe in Him to go onto the streets and to fight for their voices to be heard.

 

Jesus asks us to break any oppression or what is wrong not by violence, but by walking the other mile, or turning the other cheek, as the Gospel tells us in Matthew 5.

This doesn’t mean to become a ‘walkover’ or ‘pushover softy’, but to understand that there are other means to let peaceful voices be heard. In walking the other mile and turning the other cheek, Jesus refers to the first mile and the first slap as the symbols of oppression, but how that can be broken.

The first slap on the face forces the authority of the oppressor over the oppressed, but that authority is broken by turning the other cheek. Even so, when Jesus spoke these words, any Roman citizen could force a non-Roman to carry a load for a mile. With going the second mile, the rights of the oppressor are broken, because the second mile is the mile walked in freedom.

What will be done in Christ’s name will have an everlasting effect on our friends, neighbours and society as a whole. Much more that trying to overturn the world around us by demonstrating or even rioting. Jesus has not fulfilled His ministry by using force, but as it is proven the forces of God are stronger than any force of the world. Jesus Christ’s ministry is an everlasting ministry, because it based on God’s call to be reconciled to Him and to one another. 

 

In knowing that God has reconciled Himself first to us through Christ, may we take our part in proclaiming and living a message of hope, peace and reconciliation even in disturbing times.

 

 

Hans