03 Dec 2015
As politicians debate further debate further bombing in Syria, the text for today in the Corrymeela Prayer Book, the second day of the month, is from Matthew’s gospel. “Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt.” (Matt. 2:14)
In the holy family, particularly in this time of refugees and advent, we see how important one small family is, one small child is, one small collection of people.
Will more bombing affect change in an already bombed territory? In light of the complexities of war, the atrocities of ISIS, the fear of the fleeing, the long and complicated history of foreign interests in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, it is hard to know how to act, believe, speak or hope. But the gospel calls us to a humble, but unflinching witness — that every life matters. And bombing, no matter how precise, will inevitably kill children, the poor and the powerless as well as those being targeted.
In the story of a child born in occupied territory to parents who fled, we are reminded that every person matters, every person is a child of God, and every child of God is a reflection of the creativity of God in human form.
All faiths, all witnesses to good will, underline the truth that all — no matter how powerless — matter. This witness does not lead easily to policy proposals or analysis; this witness does not lead us easily towards viable alternatives, but that does not make the witness hollow. This witness is based on fundamental values. And those who lead must find a way to lead us into the best of ourselves, not the worst of ourselves.
Today, I pray for wisdom for politicians worldwide who are trying to make decisions; I pray for Mary Robinson and other leaders in Paris who have been seeking to protect and sustain the earth, our host; I pray for those who are fleeing force; and pray for those who are seeking to know how to respond to force for the purposes of the greater good; we keep in mind all of those who celebrate the joy of life and generosity; and we pray, too, for all those bereaved by the death of someone they love.
May we each be sustained by wisdom and vision, love and hope, faith and life.