"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

We Happy Few

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers." Henry V. 4.3. The number of those who believe in Christ's message of peace is small, but sometimes we rejoice in our tiny numbers. Our message is utterly drowned out by the lies that pour forth daily from the corporate media which celebrates violence as the ultimate distraction from the boredom engendered by the savage greed of the Empire. Yet our message will not be lost - the time will come when the pablums which promise soothing to the comfortable Christians who can't be bothered with their Lebanese or Iraqi brothers and sisters will lose their savor. Emptiness will lead to desperation and our message will be sought out, all the stronger for its present obscurity.

Remember, Lord, how your servant is taunted,
how I have to bear all the insults of the peoples.
Thus your enemies taunt me, O Lord,
mocking your anointed at every step.
Blessed be the Lord for ever. Amen, amen!

A survivor of the Qana massacre speaks: "What in the name of God have we done to deserve this?” survivor Nejwah Shalhoub said to Independent reporter Robert Fisk from her hospital bed. 'So many of the dead are children, the old, women. Some of the children were still awake and playing. Why does the world do this to us?"

I see no deeper proof of our abandonment by God than the fact that so many believe that God is merciful to us and angry with them, the terrorists, the unworthy, the immoral, the lost. May God protect us from such gratitude! In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "May God lead us to a true understanding of God's goodness. Don't we see that the gifts of God's goodness become a curse for us if we have such thoughts about them and act in such a way; if we look upon ourselves as models of virtue, instead of growing humble as we look at the imcomprehensibility of God and the worry and anxiety our wealth creates in us and if we thank God only for God's goodness to us instead of becoming conscious of the immeasurable responsibility which is laid upon us by God's goodness? If we want to understand God's goodness in God's gifts, then we must think of them as a responsibility we bear for our brothers and sisters. Let none say: God has blessed us with money and possessions, and then live as if they and their God were alone in the world. For the time will come when they realize that they have been worshipping the idols of their good fortune and selfishness. Possession are not God's blessing and goodness, but the opportunities of service which God entrusts to us."

It may well be that, far from being the blessings we imagine, our possessions are the judgement that God has laid on us. The idol of abundance has enslaved us and we worship our selfishness to the point of being oblivious to the murders it requires. Let us sing the louder the fewer and more despised we are, confident that God will hear us just as he heard his Son.

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