"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.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

An Orderly and Peaceable World

Palestinians brutalized by settlers while working their own land. (Christian Peacemaker Teams).

"The courts pretend that adherence to the law is what makes for an orderly and peaceable world," said Steve Baggarly, one of the protest organizers. "In fact, U.S. law and courts stand idly by while the U.S. military and private armies like Blackwater have killed, maimed, brutalized and destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis." - Statement of Steve Baggerly on being sentenced for protesting Blackwater's murder of 28 Iraqis in Nissour Square, Baghdad.

We are currently facing one of the most massive failures of political imagination to ever visit our fair race in this orderly and peaceable world. In an era when we have the political dreams of the ages at our fingertips, we can conceive no alternative, literally no alternative to endless inhumanity and planetary rape. As if our wills had been medically enervated and our minds stripped of the glories to which they are heirs, we live in deadened world where consumption and violence are only the realities still supportable. Lord, free us from the prison where imagination sits encased by sin.

This Lent, remember the people of Palestine and Iraq, many of whom are starving as these words are written. Let us release ourselves from the spiritual cartoons drawn by well-trained performers who feed off the goodness that longs to burst from our hearts and embrace those from whom God's eyes look out. Let this be a holy Lent, filled with fasting and prayer.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams call us to the following acts of penance:
  • Fast proactively. CPT Palestine urges that, every Friday during Lent (Fridays being traditional Christian fast days, particularly through Lent), supporters commit to writing letters or make phone calls to end the support of Israeli occupation of Palestine. As a Lenten discipline, on Fridays write or call government officials, write letters to the editors of newspapers, etc.
  • Fast from mainstream media. Choose a day every week (or 40 days!) and commit to reading Arab news sources: Al Jazeera, Maan, International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), Palestine News Network (PNN), etc. to hear a perspective different from that often portrayed by mainstream Western media.
  • Fast from food. Choose to fast a meal a week, fast from desserts, fast from sunup to sundown, or some other type of fast. Use this fast as a reminder to pray for an end to the occupation and reflect on the suffering experienced by Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation."

It would be a real miracle if Israeli hearts could be en-fleshed and mercy for the Palestinians at last be born with that birth from heaven. In our fast, let us call for this miracle with faith, faith which yet might succeed where all the stratagems of this world have failed, where we stare across desert plains watching murder and see no springs of water.

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