We look on in anger.
We look on in rage.
We look on in fear.
Mostly we look on frozen, because we don’t know what to do.
I sit here tonight aching, and crying and trying to figure out what I’m going to preach on Sunday, to a congregation of strangers expecting me to preach on gratitude and thanksgiving, when there’s little of that tonight.
I ache for those in the world affected by these outrageous acts…those who lost loved ones.
But I also weep for my Muslim brothers and sisters, the ones killed in Beirut by those who claim to be the voice of them, the TRUE (i.e. fundamentalists) believers who kill all who disagree.
I mourn for the forgotten Muslims who died on 9-11, along with Christians, Jews, Atheists, and others… but those we ignore…
I worry for those the brunt of the blame…The many innocents vilified due to the heinous actions of the few. I look at the hijab wearing women and the dark skinned men in my neighborhood who look out for me, and for each other…I think about the young, mostly female Muslim medical students who collected money for me, and checked on me constantly after they learned of my home burning down…and I worry about them too over the next few days.
And I want to scream at the fundamentalists of my own faith who are too blind to see that they are not different in their thoughts, and sometimes even their actions.
I fear my own internal cynicism, that wonders if the world really desires peace… I think about Israel, and Palestine and Syria, and the Ukraine… and Fergusen.
and, and, and, too many ands
And I wonder f all our work toward peace, and love is is for naught…
If my work is for naught.
And mostly I wonder what if anything more I can do.
In the midst of it all I see the words of someone I quote here often, John Pavlotiz, who once again manages to articulate what I need to hear…and what I want to say, so much better that I can seem to do.
So what do we do when we so want to do something?
We give a damn.
We allow the grief of strangers to become our own.
We make ourselves co-owners of their fear.
We allow ourselves to be wounded along with them.
We place their overwhelming burdens upon our own shoulders.
We pray and we cry, and together we raise a mighty, defiant middle finger to those who believe that the goodness and light of who we are can ever be overcome.
Yes, hate is powerful but it never, ever wins. Never.
No matter how much violence says, love will always have the last, loudest word.
And together while we wait patiently on this promise, in the midst of all that we do not know and cannot understand, we do the only thing we can do without delay for our brothers and sisters in Paris who are bleeding right now.
We bleed too.
The rest of his post can be found here…
Nearly 20 years ago I made a bamboo flute, and on an Easter Sunday I was moved beyond moved to give the flute to someone I had just met, James Twyman, the “Peace Trubador” a man who made it his mission to bring music to war torn lands, Sarajevo, Beirut, anywhere where brother took arms up against brother, he played music based on the peace prayers of the 12 major religions.
I was so moved by him and his music that I ran out to my car and gave him the very first (and one of only 3 flutes I ever made) . A week later he played at the United Nations, and during one of the songs, he played that very flute.
For some reason tonight as I ached, not only for the people of Paris, but for the world…and for those who strive for peace in a world that seems not to want it, I thought of him…and my flute.
I don’t know what he’s thinking tonight as the world watches the events in Paris, many with hate in their hearts… I don’t know what became of my flute… But for some reason I am compelled tonight to share his version of the Prayer of St. Francis.I have to say I hate the video…it like so much attached to him these days is too New Agey for me… But the music, and the prayer and his interpretation of it touches me on this cold painful night.
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”