“Give Me Christ Or Give Me Hiroshima …”

“Give Me Christ Or Give Me Hiroshima …” August 6, 2012

That line, from Leonard Cohen’s haunting song, “The Future,” has been replaying in my mind this day, the Feast of the Transfiguration. This morning my pastor contrasted the brilliant appearance of Jesus on Mount Tabor with the flash of atomic light at Hiroshima. On Mount Tabor, our Lord was bathed in a dazzling white light as Moses and Elijah alighted and ministered to him. At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, the people of Hiroshima saw a similar manifestation of blinding light. Like Peter, James, and John, they were terrified. But Mount Tabor was a vision of God’s holiness, of his radiant joy and all-consuming peace. Hiroshima was something else altogether. Within moments 80,000 civilians were dead. Another 60,000 would die in the following months.

Today, we have a choice between the divine light of Mount Tabor or the satanic light of Hiroshima. One leads us into a deeper communion with the Trinity and ever-greater love for our brothers and sisters: “[But] if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (I John 1:7). The other leads us into the profound and perhaps inescapable darkness of idolatry and violence. Our choice, quite simply, is Christ or Hiroshima. If we choose the latter, then Cohen’s words will no doubt ring true: “I’ve seen the future, baby; it is murder.”

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