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WikiLeaks, Creatio ex nihilo, and the end

October 26th, 2010 by isaac · No Comments

As I processed the horrifying stories from WikiLeaks this past weekend, I couldn’t help but wrestle with the news in my sermon. Here’s an excerpt:

Even though it shouldn’t surprise me that the military always lies to the public and keeps secret some of their most horrific violence, I was shocked to read some of the stories that came out yesterday (also look here and here). Among the 15,000 unreported civilians killed at the hands of U.S. and British forces in Iraq, there is one story that I think will become emblematic of the WikiLeaks revelations.

In 2006, in the town of Samarra, 100 kilometers north of Baghdad, Khalib was in a rush to get to the hospital. His pregnant sister, Nabiha, was his passenger. She was in labor and Khalib had to get her to the hospital. They made their way down the usual streets. But down one street the U.S. military set up a checkpoint. The soldiers perceived the approaching vehicle as a threat, so they opened fire and ended up killing Nabiha and the child in her womb. She was 35, and the dead baby was a boy.

“The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the face of the deep.” I’m at a loss. I don’t have the slightest idea how to change the minds of people who are drunk on violence. But just because I don’t have any ideas doesn’t mean there is no hope. The poem of creation in Genesis is ultimately about hope, hope in a God who makes something out of nothing, who speaks light into darkness. “Let there be light, and there was light” (v. 3).

Traditional theology calls this “creatio ex nihilo,” creation out of nothing. God can create life when it appears impossible. Or, like I hear some of the inmates say on Tuesday nights in prison, “God can make a way out of no way.” Even in the anti-human conditions of prison, they are able to find life, God’s life, light in midst of darkness.

For the rest of the sermon, follow this link to the church website: The beginning and the end.

Tags: sermons · war