Saturday, November 17, 2012

What do we value? What do we hold dear?


BBC cameraman and his wife with the body of their 11-month old son, killed by mortar fire in their home recently in Gaza. I cannot even fathom their pain, their loss, the tender love that still is expressed through all this tragedy.

How many couples have shared this painful intimacy over the body of a lost child killed by senseless war? It could just as easily be Israeli, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Northern Irish, African, Latin American: anywhere ethnic cleansing and armed conflict takes place--why is it always the innocents who suffer?  

Where is God in all of this?  God could ask the same of us.  What are we doing to stop war, or more importantly, make for peace?  Why does this scene not outrage us, but Twinkies going away does?  What do we value; what do we hold dear?

We are standing in this picture; it is our child who is wrapped in death. It is also us who surround this couple in compassion in attempts to comfort. But is also us who drop the bombs, fire the shells, and are hell-bent on the destruction of a people. We are those people who lob mortars back.  

War is oh so costly and so stupid. It proves nothing, but cuts down lives without thinking of the beautiful potential they hold. It steals the innocence of a generation. How many retired soldiers, particularly generals, have said as much.

In just a week or so, Christians begin the period of Advent, when we prepare for the child Jesus to be born. The land in which he was born is a war zone. Jesus was a Palestinian Jew: he is the symbol of peace if we will but allow him to be born. Can we do that?

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