"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.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Blessed are Those Who Mourn

"The kindergarten teacher is lying on a stretcher, covered with blood. The minibus is parked alongside. From somewhere to the left, the army cannon is firing shells. The children are lying on the ground next to one another. That is how one of the children described the morning when they were driving to their kindergarten in Beit Lahia and an Israel Defense Forces shell or missile--the army spokesman refuses to say--exploded several meters away and mortally wounded the teacher before their eyes." Gideon Levy, CounterPunch, Nov. 25, 2006.

And when human hearts are breaking
under sorrow's iron rod,
then we find that self-same aching
deep within the heart of God.

We mourn for the kindergarten teacher murdered by an Israeli missle and thank God it did not destroy a busload of kindergarten children, which would be declared one more "tragic mistake" in a very long string of them. But we do not surrender to the paralysis of grief. We often speak of the impotence of love in these pages because it is critical to create a counterbalance the ideology of power which is so persuasive that the vast majority isn't even aware of an alternative, including "Christians". But there are deadening griefs and life-giving ones, a distinction which the one-dimensional world most of us inhabit is incapable of grasping. In the words of Jurgen Moltmann, "If fellowship with the dying and the dead takes the pain of love seriously, it will also protest against the conditions in pulbic life which do not allow people the liberty and free space to mourn, but compel them to repress their grief, because mourning is considered illegitimate." So we are the illegitimate mourners who continue to feel grief while the world shouts Enjoy! in our deafened ears and hearts. We resist the culture of Forever Young that tramples over the weak and the failures and those too abandoned by the world to defend their stolen land. We mourn and feel the resurrection hope in our grief.

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