This morning's paper carried a column, "Parson to Person", in which the ELCA Lutheran, Rev. Carol Baumgartner, wrote, "How can we cast out the spirit of violence?" Here is the link.
A few things strike me about Rev. Baumgartner's comments. As the title itself suggests, in her remarks the onus for change and the focus of actions is human beings, not Jesus himself. Therefore, even though she mentions Jesus (as a "risk taker" and "rule breaker"), she does not mention the most important thing Jesus does - namely dying for his people. Nor is there really any talk of the forgiveness of sins. There is slight mention of what God (in general) will do (if we "let him").
Now, you might argue that this wasn't a sermon, and so shouldn't be held to the same strict standards of Lutheran orthodoxy. You might say that it was a "pep-talk" to the community. But I believe that when a Lutheran speaks out to the community in such a visible way, he (or she) must hold the cross before their eyes.
Paul says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" Romans 1:16
Her original question, "How can we cast out the spirit of violence?" can best be answered:
We can't. But Jesus Christ has - at the cross. And he continues to "create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me" through the gifts of Word and Sacrament. There's no other way.