Monday, December 1, 2008

The Prince of Peace

I just watched an amazing move, Joyeux Noel. It was made in France but it has Scottish and German actors as well. It's about the Christmas cease-fire along the front during the first year of WWI (1914). It brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. Watch this amazing scene for yourself.

Following the lead of Scottish bagpipe players and a German Opera singer who 'escaped' from performing at the German HQ to be back with his unit at the front line on Christmas Eve, the French, Scottish and German soldiers left their hostilities behind, acknowledged the
enemy's humanity and celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace. The following days, both lines found ways to serve each other as well as finding it difficult to kill each other.

Obviously, this infuriated the upper levels of management. The priest who lead the mass got in trouble by his superior. The priest responded, "Doesn't following our Lord and Savior mean we stray from the common path?" To which the superior responded, "you're asking the wrong question. You should ask why we decide to keep you in the church." The superior then preached a message about how Jesus came to "bring a sword, not peace" and how they were fighting a holy war against the demonic Germans for the good of freedom and humanity. If that sounds familiar, it's because a church with screwed up allegiances (to Cesar rather than Jesus) has been parroting that logic since Constantine's first holy wars in the 4th century.

Of course, the men who had fraternized with the enemy were then worthless. The Germans were sent to the Eastern front, shipped through Germany without being allowed to see their family. The French were sent to their deaths on the battlefields of Verdun. The German Kaiser and the King of England were both very angry.

The movie is based on actual events, even the soccer game was a historical event. The WWI history book in which I first read this explained the great lengths the commanders went through to make sure this never happened again. If soldiers see the enemy as human, the war is over.

Which is the whole point of the movie. 1) Jesus stops wars and 2) the Kingdom of the world hates what Jesus does. Jesus came to turn the world upside down, to turn our swords into plowshares, to humble the powerful and raise up the humble (read Mary's Magnificat prayer in Luke after she learns she's pregnant with the Messiah). Jesus came to jack up the world's value system. If the powers that be view the Church of Jesus supporting their agenda or a minor nuisance (rather than a threat) than the Church of Jesus Christ has been castrated!

Those living in the Kingdom of Jesus are to be 180 degrees different than those living in the Kingdom of the World! NOWHERE is this more clear than in our willingness to lay down our lives in service to those who would destroy our lives through violence; phsyical, emotional, economic, verbal, political or any type of violene. Followers of the Prince of Peace respond to violence with loving service even if it costs them everyything they have.

The first Advent has already happened. The second Advent is nearing. In which Kingdom will the Son of Man find us living?


soxfaninkc said...

Man, that was awesome! Is there any way you could incorporate that into one of your upcoming sermons? That is a powerful message!

Aaron Bonham said...

Sounds like a great movie, it's been on my list 'to see' ever since it was nominated for an Academy Award for best Foreign language film in 2005, the Award category that most often has some of the best human drama and story telling. Thanks for reminding me to rent it.