Monday, April 15, 2013

31 People Were Killed in Iraq Today

At some point, one should go to bed. But somebody attacked my favorite city on one of its favorite days. Three dead and 140 wounded. It's hard to go to sleep.

For now, I offer the below prayer written by Stanley Hauerwas in the aftermath of 9-11. It has come to mind several times in the last several hours, perhaps because of the line regarding Iraq. Reports are that 31 people were killed in Iraq today. Thirty-one. It's a regular, common occurrence. No, "we" didn't do it. But depending on who "we" is, we kinda did. And so we ache and cry out for peace.

I hate that three people were killed in my city today. What a heartless, senseless act of violence. It shouldn't happen.

Anywhere.

God help us.

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Vulnerable.
We feel vulnerable, God, and we are not used to feeling vulnerable.
We are Americans.

Nor are we used to anyone hating us this much. 
Such terrible acts. 
Killing civilians. 
We are dumbfounded. 
Lost.

We are good people. 
We are a nation of peace. 
We do not seek war. 
We do not seek violence.

Try to help us remember that how we feel may be how the people of Iraq felt when we bombed them. 
It is hard for us to acknowledge that “we” in “we bombed them.”

What are we to do? 
We not only feel vulnerable but helpless. 
We are not sure what to feel except shock, 
which will quickly turn to anger and even more suddenly to vengeance.

We are Christians. 
What are we to do as Christians? 
We know that anger will come to us. 
It does no good to tell ourselves not to be angry. 
To try not to be angry just makes us more furious.

You, however, have given us something to do. 
We can pray, but we wonder for what we can pray. 
To pray for peace, to pray for the end of hate, 
to pray for the end of war seems platitudinous at such a time.

Yet when we pray you make us your prayer for the world. 
So, Lord of peace, make us what you will. 
This may be one of the first times we have prayed a prayer for peace with an inkling of how frightening it would be for you to grant our prayer. 

Help us.

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