A couple thousand years ago, there were no semi-automatic weapons capable of killing scores of people in a matter of seconds. But there were hate, jealousy, revenge, envy, struggles for power, oppression, poverty and a host of other things that cause us to struggle and die even today.
The question of "What is this world coming to?" is as new as yesterday and as old as mankind. The hit musical "Bye, Bye Birdie" found frustrated parents asking the question, "What's The Matter With Kids Today?"
Indeed, what's the matter with a world desperately seeking peace while seemingly only capable of waging war? What's the matter with the world today? Millions of answers have been offered, only to be contradicted by millions of, "yes, buts" from people seeking alternate solutions.
In the '90s, there was a big market for cheap wristbands with the initials, WWJD. Some grammatically included a question mark, while others didn't bother. What Would Jesus Do? The bracelets were meant to remind wearers to consider the question before taking action, especially when moral choices were being made. Many of the wearers didn't have the Biblical knowledge to really answer that question, while others chose to adapt Scripture to suit their own objectives. Boiled down, WWJD simply suggested that the wearer"be good."
I am convinced that even children exposed to Christianity in their homes and churches can easily see Jesus as some sort of fairly tale. Maybe not you or your children, but clearly the impression left with those who have not been given a strong witness to the faith.
So what would Jesus do? What did he do? What if he walked the earth today taking on the name of Joshua?
I recently discovered a book called "Joshua in the Holy Land," by Joseph F. Girzone. It is one in a series of his books I intend to read, if for no other reason than the impact this particular one had on me. "Joshua," though never really identified as Jesus in this obviously fictional account, returns to the Holy Land and the places where he lived, worked, preached, healed, died and rose from the dead. He walks the same streets and sleeps in the same hills where Jesus did. He cures the sick, repeats the lessons familiar to anyone who has touched or been touched by a Bible, applying all this to modern-day life.
He doesn't shoot back. He doesn't seek revenge. He doesn't condemn. He doesn't seek personal fame or fortune. He seeks only one thing: Peace. Girzone makes clear in this fictional account bearing so much truth, that making war to obtain peace is not the solution. His characters of all races and creeds are brought together with a single objective: Peace.
For most of the years I have been writing this column, I have concluded it with that single word. For me, as a Christian, it abbreviates the phrase, "May The Peace of Christ be with You." It applies to all of God's creatures, born and unborn, Christian, Jew, Muslim or any other designation.
What Girzone presents is a simple truth that has been evident since Jesus gave the world that example when he walked the Earth. Peace is possible when all people come together and seek resolution through love, not war. Peace starts within every individual, then extends to the world. We have learned how to achieve peace. That's what Jesus would have us do.
Tom Clinton retired as executive editor of The Messenger in 2011. He and his wife, Barbara, live in Lone Oak.