From Jonathan D. Fitzgerald:
The most inflammatory voices are always the loudest; this is a fact of our contemporary media landscape. Threaten to picket at the funeral of innocent children killed in cold blood and you’ll make national headlines. Suggest that these killings were the result of expelling God from the public school system, and you’ll get people’s attention….
But there’s another voice, softer even than the others, crying out in response to the murder of innocents. It is a voice that reaches back far into church history, has its roots in the life and teachings of Jesus, and finds its ultimate exemplar in his death. That is, the Christian pacifist response….
But beyond the ultimate sacrifice of the moment, what does a Christian pacifist response look like going forward? What role can it play in preventing further tragedies?
Obviously, sacrificing one’s life to save another is a worst case scenario. It is the action taken when all else fails, when the world that Christians hope to create — a peaceful Kingdom of God on earth — fails to materialize as it so often does. But that doesn’t mean that we stop working to create that world. Here we look to examples of what Jesus suggests the Kingdom will be like. The Sermon on the Mount gives us an idea of what we should be striving for: a world that offers hope to the poor, food to the hungry, joy for those who weep. It is a world in which we do not repay evil with evil, in which those who are without clothes are clothed, mercy reigns over judgment, and enemies are loved and prayed for. In the peaceable kingdom, we treat others as we would like to be treated….
The voice of the Christian pacifist is a quiet one, a patient one. Rather than make grand pronouncements, it sets itself to the work at hand. It speaks love, mercy, and hope, and, when all else fails, it makes the ultimate sacrifice — the kind of sacrifice that the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary school made last Friday, the same sacrifice that Jesus made on another dark Friday, two millennia ago.