Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rachel, Weep No More

a Sudanese sunrise

I wrote a song in 2008 while spending a few months in South Sudan with women who had been through the hell of war and displacement and vulnerability for over 20 years - and they had returned to their homeland, to re-imagine, rebuild and heal.  Many of them had lost a child: to war, diarrhea, childbirth.  There was still the threat of violence from the Lord's Resistance Army, sometimes just a few miles away; there were still fear and food scarcity and lack of healthcare - but these women lived with a hope that the future would be good, that God would make things new, in these very moments and at least someday.  The greatest victims of conflict and violence are always the women and children, and Rachel represents all the mothers who mourn and lament and grieve.  Rachel's prophetic grief (Jeremiah 31, Matthew 2) calls into questions the weapons of our warfare and the cost that we are willing to pay; that cost is the child that someone carried in their womb and in their heart.  The mothers weeping in Syria, Libya, Palestine, DRC, Afghanistan ... and the marginalized women of more "affluent" nations, they are our prophets and we need to listen.

my sweet friend who lost her only child in childbirth a few months earlier

I believe God is doing all that He can do to move situations towards justice and right-ness, towards a shalom wholeness that recognizes the interconnectedness of us all.  Our prayers invite God in even more, and our right actions change situations and give our prayers even more power.  As my friend Zack sings sometimes, "He will not rest until all things are reconciled to Him." (or Her). 


If you Knew Me, You Would Care - D.L. Mayfield

Come Hither Men, For I Have Sex Demons - Grace Biskie @ A Deeper Story [This is an incredibly intense and raw post with reference to sexual abuse and the over-sexualization of girls and women]

10 things that could go very wrong if we attack Syria - The Washington Post

On Syria: Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right - Shane Claiborne @ Sojourners

One of my absolute favorite books is Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann.  It is filled with evocative prayers with which he would begin each graduate class that he taught.  I often use this book when I have no words.

Their plowshares are beat into swords

And now their plowshares are beat into swords -- as are ours.
now their pruning hooks are beat into spears -- as are ours.
Not only swords and spears,
but bullets, and bombs, and missiles,
of steel on flesh,
of power against bodies ...
And you, in your indignation sound your mantra,
"Blessed are the peacemakers."
We dare to believe they are the aggressor,
and we are the peacemaker.
Yet in sober night dream, we glance otherwise
and think we may be aggressor,
as we vision rubbled homes,
murdered civilians,
and charred babies.
And you, in our sadness, sound your mantra,
"Blessed are the peacemakers."
Deliver us from excessive certitude about oursleves.
Hold us in the deep ambiguity where we find ourselves,
Show us yet again the gaping space between your will and our feeble imagination.
Sound your mantra with more authority,
with more indignation,
through sadness,
in hope ... "Blessed are the peacemakers."
Only peacemakers are blessed.
We find ourselves well short of blessed.
Give us freedome for your deep otherwise,
finally to be blessed,
in the name of the Peacemaker
who gave and did not take.  Amen.

For the bombing in Serbia/March 25, 1999


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