5.01.2011

Thoughts on tonight

Now the green blade rises


Tonight President Obama announced to the world that Osama bin Laden has been killed.

I am well-aware that I have family and friends with all sorts of various political persuasions, and that is a beautiful thing. I rejoice in diversity of opinions and perspectives. On the blog and in my vocation, I generally shy away from topics that are especially controversial. Tonight, though, I would like to share a few of my own thoughts.

Before you begin to talk about this news with your friends,
before you even begin to form an opinion of your own,
I invite you to breathe deep and slow down your thoughts.
Truly. Stop and breathe. Turn off the news. Breathe in the Spirit of God. Breathe out God's love for the world.

So what do I think?

I think that it's really important to be intentional about our response to Osama bin Laden's death. I won't tell you HOW to respond; I will just say THINK about it first.

What is the message we want our kids to take away from this?
What is the message we want our grandparents to take away from this?

Since I love my confirmation small group so dearly (and actually, all the young people), I often think in terms of what I want them to learn and experience in life.

As I watched the news tonight, I was thinking of my group of junior high girls. They are about 13-years-old. They are surrounded by images of violence, sex, and war every day, and 9/11 happened when they were toddlers. This is the world they live in; a world in the middle of a "war on terror" is the only world they can remember.

When they hear about Osama bin Laden's death, I pray their first response is not one of rejoicing. I pray their first response is not one of celebration. I pray that first they pause. And pray. And think. As a world, we all need to learn to pause, pray, and think.

I pray that as a global community, we all pause to consider how terribly broken our world has become.

Let tonight be a time to think about how we ALL have contributed to getting to this place of turmoil. Let us all imagine what it will take to create a different kind of existence for people of every age group - here and in Afghanistan, Japan, Mexico, Egypt, and everywhere else on the planet.

Osama bin Laden became the target for a world searching for someone to hate. And understandably so. He lived his life guided by all kinds of terrible, abusive beliefs. He was brutal and hurtful to thousands. His actions had implications for millions.

But he was one man....one man part of a much bigger system of brokenness. One man who was very sick - truly sick. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For some people, thinking of bin Laden as an actual human being is very uncomfortable. And I'm not going to force you to do so. For some, it's easier to put him in the "evil" pile and move on.

But honestly, unless we - as a world, find some way to operate differently - this story will repeat itself. As Americans, many of us (myself included) have very little awareness of the rest of the world - especially the very poor parts of the world. We MUST become more globally conscious. We MUST become aware that we are all humans. We all have to share this planet.

Until we start living our daily lives in a way that is built on love of neighbor and love of God, I don't think any significant change can take place.

Tonight, I think we need to really ask ourselves HOW it is that people like bin Laden learn to think the way they think. We need to understand what motivates those who followed him. We need to look at global distribution of resources, the long-term effects of poverty, and the consequences of lack of literacy and education skills. ALL these issues are integrally related to the topic of war.

Bin Laden did not appear out of thin air 10 years ago.
And the issues and circumstances that have led us all to this point will not disappear just because he is dead.

Tonight, instead of celebrating death, let's choose a different path.
Let's live into our divinity tonight.
Our creator says we are made in the image of God.
Let's start acting like it.

How do we start to live differently from this point forward?
How will love be our motivating factor?
How will we talk to our kids about war and justice?
What does justice look like, sound like, feel like?
What do we want our children and grandchildren to know about peace?
How do our DAILY choices impact our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world?

We are in the midst of the season of Easter. Easter is a time of hope and possibility. Easter is our reminder of how God can take something broken and hurtful and terrible (like the death of Jesus), and bring about something beautiful and amazing (new life, new hope, the resurrection).


Today, God can still take the broken pieces of our broken world and transform them into something new.


May new life and new hope be born in us all.
Today is not a day to rejoice in death.
It is an opportunity to start building a new kind of life for everyone, everywhere.

9 comments:

  1. Good post my friend

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  2. Claudia MerrettMay 2, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Yes dear Emily, once again God has given you thoughts and words not of this world but of the spiritual world.

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  3. Very insightful. It has been frightful to see how much pleasure some people are gleaning from this man's death...

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  4. Dear Pastor Emily -

    I just learned of your blog from Kasey and I LOVE it! I need some time to sit and read. I will say that I love this post with your thoughts regarding Bin Lade's death. It is so well written and gave me a lot to think about. Thank you for sharing. See you tonight!

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  5. Thank you for your thoughtful responses, my friends.

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  6. Beautiful words and thoughts, Emily. It is clear that your congregation (and the church in general) is lucky to have a calm and collected voice like your's.

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  7. Beautiful words and thoughts, Emily. It is clear that your congregation (and the church in general) is lucky to have a calm and collected voice like your's.

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  8. Very insightful. It has been frightful to see how much pleasure some people are gleaning from this man's death...

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  9. Yes dear Emily, once again God has given you thoughts and words not of this world but of the spiritual world.

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