I can not rejoice at the news of Osama bin Laden’s death.
I can not rejoice, because I make it a practice not to rejoice at anyone’s death.
I did not rejoice the morning I watched the towers fall, the planes crash, the lives lost.
I did not rejoice as I’ve watched countless soldiers and civilians lose their lives in the years that followed.
I did not rejoice as I’ve watched families torn apart through war, as loved ones were killed, or soldiers returned completely changed.
I do not rejoice in watching friends blame Bush for the financial crisis and give Obama credit for capturing bin Laden.
I do not rejoice in watching friends blame Obama for the financial crisis and give Bush credit for capturing bin Laden.
I’m currently reading the novel version of the recent Red Riding Hood movie (it’s a lot better than that sounds), and I was captured by one of the characters, a young boy named Claude who recites a rhyme:
There was a boy, his name was Claude, different and alone, but close to God.
The town in the novel has been haunted for years by a terrorist, a werewolf, and they live in a constant state of fear, anxiety, and appeasement.
During one scene, the werewolf has entered the village. Claude, who carries a stack of homemade tarot cards which he has dropped in the horror and confusion, is scurrying to gather the scattered cards:
He had to get up, he knew, but he also knew that if he left even one card, that wrongness would grow like a fungus until it engulfed the whole world.
When he stops and takes in the reality of the unfolding scene, he breaks down :
And it came over him, there on all fours like a dog, that he could never stem the flooding darkness; his life was infinitesimally small, and no matter what he did, the bright card deck of life would always be scattered and ground into the dirt of this suffering world.
Later, as the town is conducting a witch trial, one of the citizens observes:
The villagers were never so united as when they were banded against someone.
This is what life feels like to me.
We do not live our lives in a way to be peace makers, we live them in a way to have our desires met.
Through that way of living, we alienate each other, we despise each other, we make war with each other.
Cut of the head, another one grows.
We are called to live into a new kingdom, but we waste our time trying to bring artificial stability and security to the one we know.
The new kingdom isn’t like our kingdom, however, and it doesn’t play by our rules:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12)