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Who caused World War One?

Now while they were eating (Jerusalem, AD 30), Jesus having taken bread, having expressed thanks, having broken, and having given to the disciples, said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26: 26-29

Last Sunday was, of course, a major world centenary. The signing in the Forest of Compiegne of the Armistice which ended the First World War. At the time of the centenary of the start of that war the BBC asked 10 senior historians – most of them university professors – “Who caused World War One?” Their answers are still there on the BBC website. Google will find them for you.
Who do you think caused that terrible War? What motivated those who caused it? Why did they do it?
‘A great war leaves the country with three armies – an army of cripples, an army of mourners and an army of thieves.’ (Anon.)
There’s something in Matthew’s eye-witness biography of Jesus (see bold above) which may help us. Mathew was there in AD 30 in the upper room in Jerusalem on the night before Jesus was crucified. 

Jesus and his disciples were also remembering an historic release. It was the thirteenth centenary of the Passover. 1300 years earlier their despised ethnic group of slaves, Israelites, were freed from captivity by Egyptians without any of them having to fire a shot as it were.

Here’s the quote, “Now while they were eating, Jesus having taken bread, having expressed thanks, having broken, and having given to the disciples, said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 

Back to the causes of the first World War, all of the ten BBC historians laid some blame on territorial ambitions – both of imperial Germany and the declining Austro-Hungarian empire. Those historians drew attention to the desires of the leaders of these countries to be powerful and to retain lost authority. 

Territorial ambition? Restoration of loss of face? Are these things actually inside all human beings? Do we want to have a bit more? Do I retaliate when I’m losing? Did Britain fight so as to retain?

Did you notice in the extract from Matthew’s biography of Jesus that, at their Passover remembrance, the disciples were described as eating - consuming? 

Whilst they were eating Jesus was giving a one-act play with bread. By taking bread, he depicted his coming into this world as a man, into a lowly family as well. By expressing thanks, he was indicating his joy and satisfaction with that. By breaking the bread, he was showing what would soon he would endure. “You take. You eat.” He said. “This is my body.” Others were to take from him.

When we’ve all been thinking about the terrible loss of life in the first World War, we’ve also remembered the wounded – the broken. Over 1600 men from Jersey gave their lives. Many more broken. The total number of the broken, including those fighting for the Central Powers, exceeded 40 million. 

 ‘Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.’ (John F Kennedy, 35th U S President, 1917-1963) 
Were they all broken through ambitions and desires?  One cause of the war on the other side was territorial ambition, not only for more territory but also to regain or retain lost authority.  Were the Allies also fighting for the same reason - to retain authority – and territory. 

By contrast, the one who became man in Bethlehem in AD 0 went willingly in AD 30 to his own death at the hands of those who even then were full of desires to get and to retain within their political, religious and military power. 

By contrast, he went to his death telling his followers, “Take, eat. This is my body.”
Sinner Syvret

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