The Reality of War
(Posted March 10, 2022)
"The tears we cry in both frustration and in joy bear the saltiness of the ocean of human existence we all share. Jesus knew this, and chose to sail the same ocean we sail." – Rev. Pat Kriss
This past week has been one of coming together in prayer and hopefulness at the Peace Vigil for Ukraine and the world, and having our hearts torn apart by enormous atrocities. Vladimir Putin’s indiscriminate rocket and missile launches have pockmarked the surface of Ukraine and the souls of its people.
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Last Monday the community Peace Vigil we organized in our church drew together 90 people from all walks of life and all faith backgrounds. We came to hear one another’s deepest desires for the cessation of war, and prayers for the first steps toward mending the breach between political ideologies.
Ironically, by comparison this worldwide conflagration has placed our own squabbling about mask/no mask, vaccine/no vaccine on the back burner with other petty spitting matches. Ironically as well, the place on our life journey where we are at the moment has caused us to interpret the horrific images in the news this week differently.
War Has No Winners
Those of us who are old enough to remember the end of WWII or what we saw as tiny postwar children, have had flashbacks. We remember the emaciated bodies of people victimized by REAL Nazis.
We remember film reels of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the clear lesson that in war there are no winners, but the losers are always the people.
We remember watching the mushroom-shaped bombs on TV, and even now our bodies recall the feel of crouching under our school desks as the air raid drill sirens wailed in the Cold War.
The Raw Reality of War for a New Generation
Some of us who are younger and can barely recall 9-11, have listened with only partial attention for so long to our grandparents’ tales of what war is like. Now, they no longer think that their grandparents were exaggerating what war looks and feels like and the taste of salty tears. Some young adults are witnessing firsthand what was thought to be old stories of a bygone era.
All of us start to realize that what we’re seeing in real time could jump the ocean and replicate itself here, too – if no one has the courage to take a risk to stop it.
Jesus Faced His Own Raw Reality
Ironically, too is the fact that this week’s Gospel is about a Jesus who is targeted for death by a mad ruler -- Herod.
Leaders who take on the mantle of changing the world for the better often are marked for destruction by those who will sacrifice people to keep their power. And here, too we see the maternal side of Christ who envisions himself to be like a mother hen, who protects her children under the mantle of her love.
This is the Jesus who is manly enough to weep over us and our sins, yet defensively maternal enough to shield us with his own body. This Sunday we will journey with him to a high hill over Jerusalem, and from there we may even be able to envision the streets of Kiev.