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Nuclear Crucifixion, Alex Grey.

Will it be likely that the sabre-rattling between North Korea and the United States turns into some nuclear holocaust?

Sabre-rattling is an odd metaphor to be sure: a sabre could slash and impale only one person at a time; a modern nuclear bomb can vaporize hundreds of thousands in a moment. One false move by those with too much pride to backdown – and it’s not just the combatants who will suffer.

Thus we make the transition from this month to consider the place of violence in our times – to the month to contemplate the advent of the Prince of Peace in our world. Dale Aukerman notes that Christ is the central murder of any holocaust, and he is the central person of our salvation. Aukerman comments that a single murder can cast its “imperilling shadow over the entire faith community.”  With that perspective he writes:

What an ominous hovering immensity hangs over us today because of private murders, the…  stimulus of media violence, and military slaughters past, present, future. But that immensity in its greater breadth looms over all humanity in its corporateness – looms as non-material magnitude, which, for its full globe-encircling scope, has taken concentration in the nuclear arsenals.

The Central Murder:

That three hundred million persons or a billion or four billion might be killed in a nuclear world war is beyond the imagination of any mortal. My nearest approach to the magnitude of that horror comes when I realize that Jesus would be the central murder in the midst of the annihilation:

Each victim he would know; each passion he would feel. He in whom God has drawn near would be there with the least of all who are his in a thousand infernos. The slain Brother [Christ] would be there with every brother and sister, with every terrified child, as the slower ghastliness of radiation sickness spread across the continents.

The Target that Comprehends all human targets:

This means that all the nuclear weapon delivery systems of the this world are zeroed in on a target that comprehends all human targets: Jesus.

Christians must understand that there is no aiming of nuclear weapons and no assent to them which does not zero in on him.

‘As you did to the one of the least of these my brethren, you did to me’.

Our Lord does not ask that we stare heroically into the nuclear abyss; he asks that we look toward him and let our sight become aligned with his. If we are to love as he has loved us, our perception of how he has loved focuses toward his earthly life and death, and yet takes in how he loves us all now.

The questions we are left with:

Will we love near and far neighbours as he now loves us?

Will we see any who come within our vision as partly overshadowed by the pathos and peril of nuclear guilt and nuclear war?

Will we put our lives on the line, his line, against the onrush of chaos?

The Central Murder, written by Dale Aukerman in Sojourner. Quoted in “Bread and Wine: Readings for Lend and Easter.”