It’s funny how there is an argument about history. In history we think we find our entitlements to land. People in much of the world are embroiled in a fight for land, somewhere to live: a reality that many in rich nations can’t understand. This is why we often just shrug our shoulders and think it has nothing to do with us. But it does. We have been living by the same principles.
We see the battle about history in Israel and Palestine, each one contending for their “his-story” to be heard, their own story of loss and need. The West digging up archaeological artefacts isn’t a disinterested science or hobby: it’s part of our battle for today’s worldview. It’s the same with ISIS destroying archaeology as they progress in land acquisitions. It’s the same with those who contend that the Old Testament isn’t history, but myth made up by Israel in Babylon to lay claim to the “Holy Land.”
We Christians in the West may cry “foul.” We may say Israel has an historical right to the land. An historical right we may not also concede to others, to say Aboriginals in Australia. Their history isn’t important to us. So there is hypocrisy and “his-stories” on all sides.
This type of way of trying to possess land is now defunct. God isn’t at all interested in it. It can only lead to division and war. It is the basis of our wars today. Are we to say, “Let war continue until the last one standing wins?” Then wars will never end. When one group is defeated, another issue erupts, even among allies. It’s the old way of doing things and this way is now dead and disappearing.
In the Gospels Jesus spoke of a new way, a new way of doing kingdom. It’s about caring for others. The teachings of Jesus were all about what we see happening today in our world. He was teaching about possessing land, the Promised Land. The Promised Land is one where we love God with all our hearts and love our neighbour as our self. This is how God’s promises are to be fulfilled. He give us a new heart to live a new way.
Land isn’t to be possessed by demanding our story be heard, by demanding our rights. That way only produces conflict and dispossess others. The Promised Land is possessed by loving and caring for the other. It is possessed in community, by people caring for each other, and it starts with us. It is possessed by us learning to build community, a new way of living. That is why the cross is involved. We lay down our right to violence to lead the way to God’s kingdom through faith and hope.
It’s time to think of community rather than of reasons why we should win. We win together, or we destroy each other. Let’s find out about other people’s stories and find out how we can serve them. In that way we also possess our story and its fulfilment. Our story is fulfilled in bringing healing to others. This is our calling. This is what the kingdom is about. This is our story, not winning in a worldly sense. If we try to win in that way we aren’t bearing our cross. We can’t live our story in the exclusion of others. Jesus calls us all to redemption in his new kingdom; not just a faith, but a way to live, a way to demonstrate, a way to heal, a way to point to Christ and his new kingdom.
Picture: Community Reconciliation Kingdom printed in the Hausa language – Masarauter Sasanci Cikin Al’ Umma