What Does Faithfulness Require?

It is late January as I write, and I find myself pondering what will have happened by the time this issue is in the mail late in February. Our nation is poised for war; equipment and troops have been dispatched to the Middle East to wait for their orders to proceed. Tomorrow the president will give his State of the Union address. Yet, not since the ’60s has there been such strong antiwar sentiment in our nation. In those days we didn’t have the benefit of the Internet to communicate with each other. Today it is possible to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures and raise large sums of money literally overnight, as organizations such as www.MoveOn.org, www.truemajority.com, and www.notinourname.net have been doing with notable success. It also is possible to stay abreast of how the war resistance movement is faring at websites such as www.commondreams.org, www.ncccusa.org/news/newshome.html (the National Council of Churches), www.unitedforpeace.org, and, of course, through Friends Committee on National Legislation www.fcnl.org and American Friends Service Committee www.afsc.org. Through the efforts of organizations such as these and others, a remarkable grassroots anti-war campaign is underway, bringing hundreds of individuals to lobby their members of Congress, and hundreds of thousands to antiwar rallies across the nation.

On January 18, my family and I joined the largest of these rallies in Washington, D.C. There, hundreds of thousands of protestors congregated peacefully to hear politicians, celebrities, and antiwar activists speak out against a U.S. war on Iraq. We celebrated the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who in 1967 said to us, "We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals who pursued this self-defeating path of hate. . . . We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. . . . If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight." Dr. King’s vision is still a galvanizing one. It was heartening and moving to witness such an enormous gathering of individuals of all races and ages coming to visibly and personally protest our nation’s current direction. In the days since this demonstration, we’ve heard encouraging words that the tide has begun to turn, and that support for a war is seriously eroding at home and abroad, despite the rhetoric of our present administration.

In this issue ‘Dolph Ward Goldenburg writes, "Jesus Came to My Door One Sunday Morning" (p. 12). His article reflects on the way that we can come face to face with the reality that "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40). As I ponder whether or not we will be at war in March, attacking Iraqis, many of whom will be ordinary civilians—even harmless children—I think about what Jesus would have to say to us now. "Go, and sin no more," seems a likely possibility.