Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Pax Romana vs. Pax Christi

i have been spending most of my time blogging on the boys, so i think i am overdue to throw up something that i have been reading and contemplating. so here we go... this is a longer quote but as we approach the celebration of our kings resurection this sunday. i really liked this take on the difference between how the roman empire created "peace" in thier kingdom and the way christ's kingdom is striving to achieve peace.

"in the roman empire and, in a sense, in cesar himself, diverse nations are brought together, his rule reconciles former enemies in the Pax Romana. But for paul, it's not in caesar but in christ that all things are truly reconciled. and how is the pax romana enforced? by the threat of swift, horrible, lethal torture on a cross if anyone questions roman supremecy -- a threat graphically dramatized on many a roadside entering major cities throughout the empire. in other words, the roman peace might be precious, but its cost is high- a lot of brutality, fear, violence, and blood are required to keep the peace. (st. augistine, aware of this high and bloody cost, said the only difference between an emperor and a pirate is the number of his ships and weapons.)

and here perhaps, is the most astounding contrast of all: the peace of god's kingdom comes not through the violent torture and merciless extermination of the king's enemies, but rather through the suffering and death of the king himself. the pax christi is not the peace of conquest but rather the peace of true reconciliation. the king achieves peace not by shedding the blood of rebels but by - i hope the the scandal and wonder of this is not lost because the words may be familiar - shedding his own blood."

i have read and re-read this page and have really thought about empires and nations and the way they strive even in this day and age of how they try to accomplish peace or settle disputes. i really do not see a lot that has changed in over 2,000 years. what is the cost of peace these days? is it just as costly, just as bloody, just as violent as the roman empire? is st. augistine quote about pirates being changed into -- the only difference between an "world power" and a terrorist" is the number of his "planes" and weapons.

on sunday, i will not celebrate what christ did on the cross for my personal beneift of getting myself into heaven, but i will celebrate the ushering of his kingdom values and be challenged to begin to think, pray and dialogue about how to allow his shedding of blood that was for the purpose of reconciling god and man in this world to be better understood and lived out in the lives of more people. so jesus' prayer may be realized in the lives of more people...

"may your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven" AMEN

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