Two of the most disturbing stories to hit the news in recent times involve severed body parts that have been found in or near bodies of water in the greater Toronto area and Niagara. Parts of the body of a Scarborough woman were found in Mississauga and Agincourt. Her torso has yet to be found, but her ex-boyfriend has been charged in her death. More body parts were found in the Niagara River earlier this week, but police say the parts don’t belong to the same deceased person.
Is someone playing ‘copycat’ after the story of Luka Magnotta hit the press earlier this year? He is the man who allegedly killed a man and sent his body parts through the mail to various places in the country.
We call it sick and disturbing, and it is. There is no pleasant way to describe such crimes against humanity. What is it that makes someone do this? I mean, there is a great degree of intentionality involved in cutting up bodies and spreading the parts out over a wide geographical area. It’s no accident when this kind of thing happens.
It amazes me how, in the midst of such disquieting stories, people can still believe that humanity is intrinsically good, or that there is no such thing as personal evil. Even some who follow Jesus will make claims like this, but they are unfounded both in theory and in practice.
The Psalmist wrote, “But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” (Psalm 14.3, NLT). The apostle Paul wrote, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3.23, NLT). Clearly, the Bible’s picture of a post-Eden human race is not altogether rosy.
If the reality is that humanity is not basically good, but fallen, what should be our response as followers of Jesus? We should, first, recognize and acknowledge the reality that we live in a sinful world among sinful people (one another included). Let’s not pretend, or wear rose-coloured glasses, when it comes to the state of our world.
Second, we should pray and work in partnership with God, who longs for the redemption of the world that he made and loves. Jesus came so that those who follow him will know citizenship in God’s kingdom, and through that relationship, will orient their lives in service to God and God’s world with a goal of making the world reflect the glorious kingdom of God. “On earth as it is in heaven” is how Jesus’ model prayer puts it.
God is changing the world, one life at a time – and he wants us to help. Let’s live as those who long to give a taste of God’s kingdom – our future – to those whose best hope at heaven is otherwise a world scattered with severed body parts, and lost souls. Tell your story.