Standing on the line.

When I saw the above picture, taken on Jan. 24, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine, I became angry.

I became angry because I feel that many Christians in America simply cannot identify with what is going on in the above picture. In the very center of a violent and deadly protests in Ukraine, some orthodox priests stood between protestors and police and prayed. They didn't stand on the side of the protestors. They didn't stand on the side with the armed government officials.

These priests literally "stood in the gap" between the two sides, lifted up the cross, and interceeded to God and cried out to God for peace.

Everybody else took sides.

Take for example, Roman Catholic cardinal and archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan. Not that I care all that much about the leanings of most Roman Catholic officials. However, I think his attitude is prophetically telling of that of the church in general in America. He's reported saying: “We Catholics in the United States cannot let these brave Ukrainians, whose allegiance to their religious convictions has survived 'dungeon, fire, and sword,” languish. They deserve our voices and our prayers.'" He added: "Nor can we as American citizens fail them, as we call for our government to stand with them."

Instead of standing in the gap, lifting up the cross, and interceeding to God and crying out for peace, the archbishop has called on American's to not fail the citizens of Ukraine, and exhorted us to pick sides. The end outcome of such a behavior, ultimately, will manifest itself in further conflict, and perhaps even war.

In an age where men draw lines in the sand and tell everybody to pick a side, these priests dared to stand on the line that men drew. They didn't choose a side. They chose God. They chose the peace that Jesus Christ came to bring, and offered it to the rest of the world. It is a peace which many Christians in America, who are so used to picking sides simply cannot indentify with, because their minds cannot divorce their identities from nationalistic and patriotic ideals. It's the type of peace that keeps men from killing other men.

In the words of the late Art Kazt, Christians in America are "far too American." And that is why we as American Christians cannot identify with these priests. This is what makes me so angry.

As a reuslt of not knowing the peace Christ came to bring to this world (which we limit primarily to warm fuzzy feelings), and not having out identities grounded in our understanding that we are citizens of the kingdom of God, we go along with the rest of this fallen world: We choose sides.

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