|This is what C.S. Lewis meant when he wrote,
"There is no neutral ground in the universe; every split second, every
square inch, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan." The
landscape of every life is marked by this spiritual warfare.
In April 1999, in the days after the Columbine
High School killings, I returned again and again to God's words
in the Song of Songs: "Love is strong as death." It's strange how
the most powerful language is usually the simplest. Love is strong
as death: Not one of these words from Scripture has more than
a single syllable, but each is a stone in the foundation of our
Out of love, God sent us His only son to redeem
us; out of love, His son died for us; and in the resurrection of
His son, love is stronger than death. God made us for heaven,
and heaven is stronger than hell. We can freely choose otherwise,
but God made us for heaven.
Last week, in the wake of the mass murder
in New York and Washington -- "murder" is exactly the right word
-- I went back to the same Bible passage. I've tried to understand
how anyone could justify intentionally killing planeloads of innocent
people, including a 3-year-old child, in the name of politics. I
I've tried to imagine the desolation of a
heart that could engineer, let alone carry out, the killing of thousands
of innocent persons on the ground, each of whom was made in God's
image. I can't -- and I don't want to. That kind of blackness was
made for someone other than human beings.
The events of last week cannot be explained
in the language of politics. Any kind of political or religious
excuse for such killing is a lie. The murders in New York and Washington
can only be understood in the context of the war between love and
hatred, heaven and hell, that goes on in each of our hearts and
which spills inevitably into the world we share together.
Last week, hell had its say. And heaven began
to answer in the heroism of firefighters, police, clergy and medical
personnel; in the outpouring of sympathy and generosity around our
nation; and in the character of our national and local leaders.
What remains to each of us is the choice between love and hate,
heaven and hell, in the course we take from this point forward.
Love is strong as death. Love is stronger
than death. If we really believe that -- and we must -- then
we'll begin right now to pray for God's mercy to last week's victims,
its survivors and our country as a whole. We've never needed His
love more urgently.
And we should also remember in our prayers
the murderers and the men who sponsored them. May God grant them
His justice but also His mercy -- for surely they'll need it.