War begins in the soul. It is planted through the stories we are told by those around us, and that we then tell ourselves – stories of ‘us’ and ‘them’. In these stories our fellow humans are cast as somehow different, other than ‘us’; not ‘us’. This, then, allows us to distance ourselves from them, and in that move lies the licence to deny them the same humanity as ‘us’. This is the first step of murder and of war – the denial of a fellow human as brother or sister.
So what does it mean to be ‘fully human’?
In the beatitudes, Jesus’ “Blessed are…” sayings, he reveals the opposite way to live, being ‘poor in spirit’, not arrogant; being ‘gentle’, not a ‘task master’ or a bully, etc.
But then there is the difficulty of others who treat us as less than human, where we become the ‘persecuted’. As was Jesus – and it led to the Cross. How then shall we live?
The Bewcastle Benefice sermon for Remembrance Sunday can be found here.