|CU: Talks: 26/9/96||Back to the Past Talks listing|
What causes the Northern Ireland problem? Prejudice? Economic? Religion?
Using the model of tribal conflict, the focus is on land and who has the rights to it. One instance where Jesus specifically mentions the issue of land, a man came to Jesus to demand his allegiance to stand alongside him for his rights to the land. Each of us overestimates what is due to us. Jesus was outraged by this mans attitude. The man isn't concerned about his brother but about his own rights. What is this mans problem?
He is controlled by an unsatisfiable materialistic outlook on life . He always wants more, seeing life as fulfilled in abundance and possession. Possession however soon grows to boredom and more is craved. Our parents expectations in evangelical NI are generally middle class materialism. God is used as a resource to achieve his own goals, his own agenda.
The guy is isolated and alone. He talks about MY land. You can't enjoy yourself on your own, we are created to share. Enjoyment is in sharing. Jesus came as a reconciler. What God has given us he has given us to share.
He is convinced that the land is his by right. Wrong, even life, even our souls are given to us by God. He has expended energy into something he will not enjoy. It won't matter when we are dead. Everything around us is transient. The face of the nations shifts constantly. The Republic of Ireland hasn't been around since time began and one day it will be gone as will Northern Ireland, as will any nation on the face of the earth. It will all be superseded by the new Heavens and the new Earth, the Kingdom of God. As Christians our identification and citizenship is in the Kingdom of God, if we find it anywhere else then Jesus calls us a fool.
Jesus has not come as a divider but ba reconciler . The question is not 'what is just for me?' but 'what is just for my neighbour?'. We cannot choose to remember one side of the problem and identify ourselves with it. We cannot decide who is righteous and who is unrighteous.
Jesus calls us to a radical change of mind. Instead of demanding 'my justice' we must demand whatever is just in Gods eyes. The world is our land - that is where the Kingdom of God is to be established.