" ...Pray for those who perpetrated the violence of September 11th. Picture their mothers holding them as babes, filled with hope for their future. Pray for those who have sought vengeance for the terror of September 11th or earlier terrors, and pray for all the torturers and terrorists among us. Imagine them sitting in a vineyard, feasting in the late afternoon sun, laughing and making music with former foes, in a land where no one is afraid any more. Pray for families and friends of those who died ten years ago, and envision them as living memorials, bringing greater life and healing in this world, building peace among strangers. Can we recognize the hopes that all parents have for their children? Are we willing to look for the reflection of those infants on the faces of our enemies? Can we recognize the common desire of all the world’s faithful peoples for peace in their own day? Will we claim the same human yearning in our own hearts? Those are all choices we can make – they are not accidents. When we can love our enemies enough to see a different possibility, our own hearts have indeed begun to heal – and God’s kingdom is coming. Amen. So be it. May our hearts be turned toward our enemies. Shalom, salaam, may your peaceful kingdom come, O Lord, in our hearts and in this world.
Inshallah.* God does will it, for this is the only road to peace."The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, and Primate The Episcopal Church
As much as it might upset us, yesterday's reading from 1 Kings 21 shows that the Lord will have mercy even upon those who do great evil... provided they repent.
"I will bring disaster on you; I will consume you, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel; and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin. Also concerning Jezebel the Lord said, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the bounds of Jezreel.” Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat; and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the air shall eat.’ (Indeed, there was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel. He acted most abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord drove out before the Israelites.) When Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth over his bare flesh; he fasted, lay in the sackcloth, and went about dejectedly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: ‘Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster on his house.’"I know that God can heal all wounds, but I am having a hard time imagining sitting down with a unrepentant Mohamed Atta in God's vineyard, listening to the Hallelujah chorus, and downing a cool one while chatting over the good old days. Katherine Jefferts Schori wants me to imagine it. She knows I can do it on my own, just by recognizing our common hopes and dreams of peace.
Maybe the P.B. is on a higher spiritual plane than I, but I need some help here, and more than she is capable of providing.
While her sermons are pathetic panderings to pluralism, in this case the furtherance of the mission of Allah's followers, we continue to pay her salary. Well, at least she speaks a mean Arabic (although she may not be fully up to speed in the vernacular).
* Inshallah (from Grapeshisha)
"You must have heard it once in your life if not multiple times daily. Inshallah literally means 'If Allah wills it', or generalized to 'God-willing', but really it is a term of fatalism, which you can't really express in English, and it will be used to express an event in the future. This means that you could hear it peppered throughout conversations on a daily basis, since the future could mean in few minutes as well as tomorrow as well as next year. Let me give you an example: 'I will see you tomorrow, Inshallah'. Or 'We will work together, Inshallah'. However, be aware, the term is not always used in this way, and in many instances when there is not a hope in hell of something happening, it is thrown in for good measure. 'We will sign the contract tomorrow, Inshallah' or 'Inshallah, you will get a pay rise', implying that Allah does not want it so you don't get it. It can even cover uncertainty - 'Inshallah, the engineer will come tomorrow between 4 and 6'. That means you do not know if he will come before 4, after 6, at the allocated time or even at all! And if there is a pause between the end of the sentence and the Inshallah, it means either that the person is not so sure any more or really can't be bothered. Bukhra means tomorrow - combine it with Inshallah, and you have 'Inshallah, Bukhra' the severe form of Spanish termed 'manana effect'. It ain't gonna happen."Sitting under the grapevines someday with Mohamed Atta, getting down to the celestial vibes of the heavenly orchestra? Inshallah, Bukhra!