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>Living Faith: Life in the Kingdom

Arrows, AK-47s, and the King

Recently, I listened to an old, grisly account of a primitive tribesman’s death at the hands of an enemy tribe. With poisoned arrows, home-crafted knives and the blood-thirst developed by years of well-honed violence, an innocent victim was killed, then cooked.

We call it barbaric, with good reason.

Today, however, progressive societies have replaced poison-tipped arrows with . . . AK47s, bombs and drones. Not only has the world increased the slaughter; it has also increased the distance between the mass murderer and his victims. And for some inexplicable reason, many think this should pass for progress, not primitiveness.

With this on my mind, I read about Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47. A late convert to the Orthodox faith, Mikhail came to understand something of evil. He said, “My soul ache is unbearable and has one irresolvable question: if my rifle took lives, does it mean that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, aged 93, a peasant woman’s son, an Orthodox Christian in faith, is guilty of those people’s deaths, even if they were enemies?”

Kalanshnikov understood the tenacious grip of death in our world—a grip so grasping that it instinctively turns innovation into murder. (Militaries are unsurpassed innovators.) But his regret and sorrow at the triumph of death is, by its very repentance, a symbol of a different kind of triumph—life, springing from the death fields of every age.

We may not be able to stop the slaughter, but we can cry out for the King’s justice. And one of these days, that Man of Peace will undo the reign of death. In fact, He already began that triumph, oddly enough, by being slaughtered.

Soon, though, His triumph will be completed, and the swords will be turned into plowshares. In the meantime, will you choose life in the King’s name, or celebrate the slaughter as an agent of death?

—Arlin Weaver

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