a time to reflect, not rejoice

Greetings folks,

I find it both fascinating and so highly disturbing being here in the States while many corners of this country and indeed the planet rejoice at Osama Bin Laden’s demise. There is no doubt that the events of 9/11, as I’ve noted in other forums, have left deep and painful scars on the psyche and well-being of this country in particular, though the USA is far, far from alone when it comes to the effects of terrorism. I think of how the Bali bombings this last decade cut deep with Australian’s. I’m mindful that through Dale I have family here. But is this the time to throw the party of all parties? I think not; the Christ whom I falteringly follow speaks nothing about the likes of this.

Etched deeply in my mind is the time the day of 9/11 when I met with a group of primary school kids at the Christian school where I was chaplain. It was important that I gave opportunity for kids to reflect appropriately on what had happened. There was a sense in which we were on holy ground (and being in an upstairs room didn’t harm things) as one Year 5 girl suggested we should be praying for the families of those terrorists behind this horrible event – she offered this prayer request out of love and empathy — in her own childlike way, not out of vengeance. Times like this call me back to asking: what is the way and mind of Christ in all of this? Can’t escape Christ’s words in Matthew 6 …”love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.

This past day or so, I’ve come (as no doubt we all have) across all sorts of Facebook or blog postings. Here are just a couple. The first comes via a Facebook (and more-than-that) friend of mine, Denise:

‎””Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. … The chain reaction of evil—hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars—must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
Martin Luther King, Jr

And then this posting (I’ve include the text in its entirety) from a ministry friend of mine, Elenie …

A few words on the assassination of Osama bin Laden

Assassination is not justice served, it is vengeance done. The world will not find peace while we continue to confuse justice with vengeance. This is not a time for celebration or any kind of pride in achievement, but one for deep reflection on who we have become and what kind of world we are doomed to leave behind if we don’t make radical changes.

We continue to spend offensive sums of money on the machinery and the politics and the business of war while billions of people struggle to live. Claims for the moral high ground, for the side of ‘right’, all too often couched in religious terms, are made to hide motivations that have more to do with power, greed, resources, land, and just plain hatred of those who are different than they do with what is ‘right’ and ‘good’.

We are suffocating the planet but many of us would rather turn our backs on science than accept the consequences of what the science is demanding of us.

If we stopped warring and began to spend as much money on the things that bring peace, if we stopped plundering the planet and began to appreciate the natural world as sacred gift, it is true we would have to make massive changes to the current organising principles of our economy (which are inherently destructive of our humanity), but just think of the kinder, gentler, flourishing world we’d leave to future generations.

But maybe we can begin by just speaking the truth. The US and its allies have spent billions of dollars with the aim of assassinating a single individual in revenge. They have achieved their goal. The war and the hatred will continue.


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