Monday, May 02, 2011

What then shall we say in response to this?

I got home from a worship service last night to discover my Facebook newsfeed absolutely exploding. For those of you not familiar with Facebook, the newsfeed is the place where all your friends' statuses and activity appears, all in one convenient location.  It's the prime location for stalking your friends and seeing who is engaged, who had babies, and what is going on in the world.  Last night, as you can imagine, it was all about Osama.  When I logged on this morning, there was more of the same, combined with some of my Canadian friends urging people to get out and vote.  Just in case you somehow missed it, Osama bin Laden is dead.  At least, that's what the news is saying.
Which leaves me with this question: What then shall we say in response to this?  Yes, Osama did a lot of bad things.  Some might even call him a bad person.  Now he's dead.  I still haven't completely wrapped my mind around this fact.  He's dead.  What does this mean?  What does this mean for the people he ruled with sheer terror?  What does this mean for the US?  the world?  I'm sure many of these questions will be answered in the days, weeks, months, years that follow, but they aren't the ones that weight heaviest on me.
What then shall we say in response to this?  A man is dead.  Regardless of who he was and what he did, a man is dead.  A human being was killed.  Did he deserve it? Is the world a better place now that he's dead?  I don't know.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It doesn't change the fact that human being was killed.
Whoever he was, whatever he did, he was someone's family, someone's son, someone's friend.  What's more, he was a child of G-d.   G-d loves all his children...good, bad, and inbetween.  In fact, all of us, in G-d's eyes, deserve death.  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of G-d" and "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of G-d is eternal life".   Are we any better than Osama?  Are there degrees of sinfulness? Is one sin worse than another?  I would respond "no", but that's just me.  You have to decide for yourself what stance you want to take.
What then shall we say in response to this? Will there be retaliation against the US?  Will Canada get caught in the crossfire?  Will this mean more of our soldiers getting killed?  Will more parents lose sons and daughters?  Will more parents lose their children?  I don't know.  I wish I could say that this means war is ending, but I can't believe that.  I don't know how to.  I don't know what is coming.
What then shall we say in response to this?  I don't know. I know what we shouldn't say.  We should not rejoice that a human is dead.  We can rejoice that a reign of terror is coming closer to an end.  We should not live in fear of retaliation.  We serve a big G-d, a G-d who is bigger than any form of retaliation.   We should go before our G-d in prayer and pray for peace.  I'm listening to Angler's Chat sing "The Peace of G-d" right now.  The part I just heard I was a take on Philippians 4:

 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

That's what I pray.  That the peace of G-d will be with us all. 


Anonymous said...

Hey Joy, random question: Why don't you use th "o" in God's name? :)
Just curious.
Also, good post. It troubles me to think of what could happen next. Pakistani leaders are already upset that the US invaded without seeking permission first...

Joy said...

Leaving the "o" out of the Name is a Jewish tradition I picked up a number of years ago. Orthodox Jews, for legalistic reasons, will never write out the Name, for fear of writing it in vain or writing it and then having it defaced or thrown away. I adopted the tradition because it makes me, and other people, stop and think. The Name is holy. It's not something we should take lightly or use flippantly. So by leaving the "o" out, I'm forced to stop and think about it. And other people are forced to stop and think too.
I don't get offended when people write the Name in full, I just don't do it.