2021

Stretching Our Good Will for Peace in 2021

I told Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, that I did not want to hear any of his predictions for 2021. I will need quite a while in the new year to get over the last year. Especially since I gained weight in 2020, which will not go away quickly. The 2020 evil pandemic will keep on in 2021, killing without mercy until the vaccines are available for everyone.

The Bible never hides the power of evil to kill the innocent without mercy. “When Jesus was born in Judea in the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one born king of the Jews?’ We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2) Herod directed the Magi to Bethlehem, where they worshipped Jesus.

They did not return to King Herod to tell him that they had found the baby King in Bethlehem. King Herod intended to kill the one rumored to be the king of the Jews. An angel of the Lord warned Joseph in a dream to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt because Herod would search for the child to kill him. They escaped to Egypt.

King Herod gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. One can understand the great weeping at the brutal killing of innocent children. King Herod cared nothing about innocent children, like the Covid 19 virus that came to kill innocent victims in 2020.

Some years death has the upper hand and will not easily relent.  There is no mercy in the evil of sin, sickness, and death. Thankfully, God’s love can overcome the power of evil in any year. God uses us to help overcome evil by how we protect each other in peace and love.

2020 was like the year 64 A.D. in this way, a great fire ravaged Rome in July for six days. It left 70 % of Rome destroyed and one half of the population homeless. Emperor Nero played music or fiddled and partied while his people suffered and died. He was indifferent to their fate. As their Emperor, he had no regard for their well being or safety.

Peace of mind was hard to find for us in 2020. Everything was turned upside-down and inside out thanks to the ravages of the Covid 19 virus. It brought the worst out in us. Many turned from a peaceful climb up the stairway of loving my neighbor, at least in theory, to becoming a reckless driver on the highway of, ‘I’m not my neighbors’ keeper, so get off my case!’

Two thousand twenty-one dawns with the relief that vaccines can flatten the power of the sickness and death of the pandemic. It needs to be a year of peace. A peace without protesting that the government cannot tell me what to do. Wear a mask, isolate, and social distance in peace. In peace, forego public assembly, in worship if need be, to protect others’ lives. In 2021, let us climb the stairway of loving our neighbors by being our neighbor’s keeper in actions, not just in theory.

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Raymond Maher
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