Faith in the Forest column, from The Forester 30th July 2014

As I write, the passenger jet over Ukraine, and the escalating trouble in Gaza are the main concerns of the news.  Both will have moved on in some way by the time you read this, (for good, I pray).  But the world is never short of conflict or the news lacking a troubling story.  In both those cases, the issues are to do with cultural identity, and the latter with added religious differences.
We may hear the news and think there must be a way – they just need to learn to share, learn to trust – whilst holding our own grudges.  None of us is innocent when it comes to escalating conflict!
The Old Testament idea of ‘an eye for an eye’ (which actually was a law designed to moderate retribution – i.e. only an eye for an eye) was improved on by Jesus who suggested we should turn the other cheek.  Certainly don’t escalate conflict, don’t even return like for like.  Quite a challenge to civilised nations who argue that a ‘proportionate’ response must be made.  Turning the other cheek is not weakness, rather almost defiant.  It says ‘you are not taking anything that I am not prepared to offer for the sake of peace’.
Jesus allowed himself to be put to death rather than leading the violent revolution that some people were hoping for.  After three years of preaching his oddly powerful message of defiant non-retaliation, he puts it into practice with a truly revolutionary, and disproportionate act of self-giving love.  The Peace of the Lord be with you.

Rev Sarah Bick, Vicar of Mid-Wyedean (Coleford and surrounding villages)