Thursday, December 29, 2016

Kings Will Be Kings: Law, Order, and the Normalizing of Oppression

I have often written and preached upon Matthew 2, that horrifying story of King Herod and his act of political expediency in having the police slay all male infants in powerless little backwoods Bethlehem. I have thought out load about:
     How power, control, and safety can become false idols;
     How omens and prophesy can be self-fulfilling traps;
     How Herod could justify his act as being in the name of the "public-good";   
     How the Old Testament left us images of God killing other infants, or commanding us to do likewise;
     How Herod was a human-being, made in God's likeness;
     How three pagan astrologers saved the infant Jesus while dooming all the other baby boys...

Herod was a scion of wealth and unearned privilege, an icon of oligarchy. He was placed upon the throne by an outside power, and was supported by organized religion. He promised prosperity, progress, and a temple of shiny-things. We see infanticide as business as usual for kings and conquerors throughout history, as a normal part of the dirty business of "securing the throne".

The destruction of Alderaan by the Empire.

But now, when I read the story anew, I wonder: what happened next for those left behind? Did the religious leaders speak up against this abuse of power? Did the civic leaders complain through proper channels? Did the mourning parents protest in the streets, and if so, who joined them? The Bible and history tells us that whenever the sanctity of the Temple was impacted, the people rose up - but what about the sanctity of human life?

Jesus brought a revolution of sword and fire, not against the Empire, but against our sin of self-deluded complacency in the perceived short-term safety brought by power instead of trusting in true Power. We were given a Birth Star of Hope, but time and again we choose the Death Star of Despair.

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