God is our refuge: Thoughts on military spending and worship

by Ken Nafziger

After his death in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man cries out to Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers of the consequences of their actions (Luke 16:19-31).

Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

The rich man had a hearing problem; he ignored Lazarus at his gate regularly. We also have a hearing problem when it comes to military spending. If I were planning a service linked to the topic of military spending, my starting point would be some of the voices we seem not to hear.

Jesus–on priorities

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…
but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Therefore do not worry, saying,
“What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?”

Then the king will say to those at his right hand,
“Come, you that are blessed by my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
for I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”

Credit: Ron Zmiri/dreamstime.com

The Psalmist–on priorities

The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear…

Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the LORD our God.

Prophets for peace—on priorities

Or maybe it’s time to listen to those who will not pay
the percentage of their taxes that go to support war.

Or maybe it’s time to pay attention to those voices in social media,
who call our attention to the cost of feeding the hungry of the world
for the equivalent of a few days of military spending.

Maybe it’s time to pay attention to the Prince of Peace,
to the calls of the prophets for peace,
and to the voices who throughout history have called for peace.

Listen: what more do we need to hear?

 Come, let us worship

“Your word is true, your way is just, you are the God in whom we trust.” –Gracia Grindal, 1993

If there is to be peace in the world,
there must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
there must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
there must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
there must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
there must be peace in the heart.
–Lao-Tse, Chinese philosopher, 6th century BCE

“Fear not…”
–angels, prophets, Jesus, and others

 

Ken Nafziger is professor of music at Eastern Mennonite University.

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