An event of ancient and eternal import is occurring right here in Brunswick this week. The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 are arguing in Federal Court for dismissal of charges stemming from their April 4, 2018, actions of symbolic disarmament at the Kings Bay Trident Submarine Base in St. Marys.
I believe this presents to us the same archetypal choice given to the crowd at Jesus’ trial: To set free the “lawbreaker” who says to “Put away your sword” or the murderer who kills for country. Many scholars believe that the description of Barabbas in Luke 19 indicates he may have been a Zealot, a group of Jewish patriots who believed in killing the enemies of Rome in the streets of Jerusalem. The Zealots eventually got their way, leading to the destruction of Jerusalem in 66 and 100 A.D.
The authorities in the Gospel narrative were so concerned that the nonviolent Jesus might cause the Romans to destroy the nation (John 11:48) that they convinced the crowd to call out for the violent Barabbas to be set free instead, just as now the authorities seek to put away those who would beat swords into plowshares while loosing murderous weapons of mass destruction upon the world — in the name, of course, of national security. The authorities want us to strain at the gnats of cut fences and painted doors and a hammered monument to missiles, while swallowing the camel of nuclear annihilation.
Let us this time choose Life instead.