The possible diplomatic solution to the conflict of Syria seems to fall right out of the sky. Maybe that’s exactly why. Years of prayers for Syria have intensified since the threat of an attack of the US. Across the world Christians gathered as a whole, for prayer. Without trying to plan or measure Gods mysterious ways, it’s hard to day anything else than a sense of prayers answered.
But what now? Injustice stays predominant. I think about the brother and sister from Syria who fled here. They said: “Our heart is broken.”Their Syria is a toy in the hands of the superpowers. Their land is sacrified in the hope to prevent a total de-escalation in the Middle East. Who has any loved ones there, can’t rest assure for any minute. The dead of the poison gas attack in Damascus stay dead. And while UN-human rights commission sends signals that both parties are quilty of war crimes, the stock exchange is on the rebound. We might get some cheaper gas at the tankstation. World leaders try to explain their loss as profit. Others can hardly hide their pleasure about showing off their power on the stage of this world. The most austere are the spontaneous reactions to new developments. Now that Assad can’t use poison gad, he can only wage war ‘normally’- is how someone on the news deschribed it.
Psalm of revenge
When injustice dominates, it’s important to make a special appeal to the LORD. Next to praying for peace, a necessary prayer for justice. We are going to sing a revenge psalm tomorrow. The lyrics of Psalm 58 are just as terrible as the horrors we see in Syria. God is askes to break the teeth of the unjust, to let them be like a snail which melts and passes away in his burning anger. We ask for divine intervention of Judge Jesus personally. The world can’t just go on like he hasn’t ascended over all forces, authorities, powers and rulers (Ef. 1:21)?! High Commisioner for Refugees, Guterres, is complaining the world looks another way in this disaster. The church cannot do this! Gods world is on fire. Christs justice of peace is poisoned before each and everyone’s eyes.
And yet, somewhere it’s wringing. Because can we as a new-testamentical congregation sing that Psalm? We are in a tight spot here. For starters, religion and violence has been an important theme in our society for about thirty years. In the attacks of the Twin Towers (2001) and the murder of Theo van Gogh (2004) it’s come closer to us. We are being confronted with it when even in our country people are being recruited for the jihad in Syria. In this theme the Bible is clearly in the picture here. For example: in his book “Het monotheïstisch dilemma” (the monotheistic dilemma, 2010), the Dutch legal philosopher Paul Cliteur claims that religious violence can only be understood in the light of the old scripts of violence in the Old Testament. Before you know, us singing Psalm 58 is putting is in the religious terrorist corner. For a christian something could add up too. Maybe you are scared to death of Gods wrath. And in our secular country, believing is hard enough as it is. Let’s not talk about to those awful subjects as well.
We can only sing this while looking at Christ. If we involve him in everything. This crisis calls us back to our saviour and judge. Christ suffered the burden of Gods burning wrath at Calvary. He who comes as the judge is no other than he who came to save us. And then it’s the other way around as well. Silence at so much injustice, thát is ruthless. Only Christ is the hope is the hope for they who perished. In Christ we sing for a new (heart for) Syria. Singing this song, we also give a wake-up call to wrongdoers. Do you really think you can get away with the chase of the innocent? Hide, when you think you can murder children with poison gas; He will find you! Who thinks he can play a game of power and/or politics, is forgetting about the day when only Christ our King is triumphant. Psalm 58 ends with people’s acknowledgment: ”there is a God that does justice to earth”. Justice on earth! More than despair and cynism about that, the world is crying for justice.
See also: The church needs psalms of revenge