|Feast of the Holy Innocents
First John 1:5--2:2
Psalms 124:2-3, 4-5, 7-8
Simon and Garfunkel’s, The 7 O’clock News/Silent Night (1966), begins with “Silent Night” and then gradually is drowned out by news reports of war, violence, etc. It was very disturbing to me during the Vietnam era.
Somehow, I am again caught by the Christmas carols that we are singing. I feel as if the media reports and my inner thoughts are drowning out, or, at least, are out of sync with the message of the season. Greetings of “Peace, Joy, and Love”, are sent to us across the air waves, cyberspace, and in person. Yet, we are involved in the ongoing war against terrorism.
“What was said through Jeremiah the prophet was
This passage, read on the Feast of the Holy Innocents is haunting. These words conjure up a childhood memory of pictures and stories of King Herod’s awful order to slay all male children under the age of two in order to be sure that Jesus was slain. I remember as a child, shuddering at the cruelty of a king who felt the need to slaughter children to protect his own power. How could such a powerful king even think that a child would be a threat to him?
Today, Rachel’s cries sadly echo in the hearts of many families’ and friends’ of the terroists’ victims. It isn’t hard to imagine the empty place in the holiday celebrations of this past week left by the death of all of these people who died due to the terrorists and their leaders’ fear and hatred.
But this lamentation does not stop at our borders. There are families and friends of all who are victims of warring ideas and ideals across our world. Who is right and who is wrong? Is this the question to address, or is it time to address how the drive for power, control, and tunnel-visioned idealism leads all people to a hopeless, needless lamentation for the dead?
The dead ‘are no more’ for their families and friends, because whether they are victims of a ‘just war’, or victims of terrorism or victims of ‘friendly fire’, ‘they are no more’.
John reminds us that we (none of us) are blameless. “If we say, ‘We are free of guilt of sin, we deceive ourselves; the truth is not to be found in us….If we say, ‘We have never sinned,’ we make him (Jesus) a liar and his word finds no place in us.”
What is the word of Jesus? What does the celebration of Jesus coming to the world – Word made flesh, dwelling among us, one with us… what does it say to me – to you – to all of us?
This is a difficult message to contemplate three days after Christmas. But the death of anyone, let alone, hundreds, upon thousands, each day due to war, economic injustice, terrorism, oppression, etc., is a more difficult message…because ‘they are no more’.
When I wish others, “Peace to you”, this season, what am I willing
to do to help further this wish…to make it real?
Perhaps, the slogan, “If you want peace, work for justice!” seems
all the more compelling these days, doesn’t it?
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