Christ and suffering
“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence” (NRSV, Genesis 6:11)
“From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must…undergo great suffering…and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (NRSV, Matthew 16:21)
Today we commemorate with gratitude and respect those who fell in the First and Second World Wars, and in more recent conflicts. What makes all those wars relevant today is the fact that they were monumental examples of a human malaise which is characteristic of every generation – the ruthless pursuit of power and the total unconcern for the innocent suffering which is inevitably involved.
That lust for power has often been identified with a single person; for example, with the Kaiser in 1914 and with Hitler in 1939, but one man cannot fight a war and behind his leadership is the will and effort of all those who, at any rate to begin with, hoped to profit from their expected victory. And in more recent times we have seen, and still see, the continuing struggle to win or maintain power by adopting the declared principle of Mao Tse-tung: “Power comes out of the barrel of a gun”.
What Lord Acton said back in 1887, is always true, “Political power tends to corrupt…”, and he might have added that the ambition for power tends to corrupt also.