Posts Tagged With: violence

A Series of Laments

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I am writing a series of laments. As a white evangelical Christian I did not learn to lament in my religious or cultural background. This lack of lament is probably due to the fact that I and my ancestors, as part of the dominant culture, have not suffered the injustice, oppression or violence as have many of my neighbors of color. In the last few years I have been introduced to this specific form of prayer.  It is connected closely with confession and repentance.  We are living in an extremely violent society, in an extremely violent world. We are reeling from one tragic event to another. As a follower of Jesus the Christ, I have learned from his teachings the law of sowing and reaping. What is planted is what grows.  With this principle in mind I wonder what it will take to root out the violence in our society and in our world. Large trees with long roots started as small seeds.  What seeds have been planted in our history that continue to bloom into violence? I believe a collective lament, confession and repentance is necessary for lasting change to occur. The path to healing in our communities, must go through this path of self-reflection and acknowledgement leading to lament, confession and repentance. I invite you to join me in this journey of overturning the soil in our hearts in the hope of producing the good fruits of love and peace in our world.

Laments can be spoken, chanted or sung together in a group or alone.  The bold letter words are for those who wish to pray together in a group.

This first lament is in response to the recent Texas church shooting.

 

#1 Lament for violence in our land:

 

Oh God hear our prayers!

 

Today children are grieving.

They have lost their parents or grandparents.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

Today parents and grandparents are grieving.

They have lost their children and grandchildren.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

Today brothers and sisters are grieving.

They have lost their siblings.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

Today neighbors and friends are grieving.

They have lost their neighbors and friends.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

We have done wrong against you

And our fellow human beings

Made in your image.

We have not loved our neighbors

As ourselves.

 

We have loved our power

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our comfort

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our privilege

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our safety

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our weapons

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

Lord have mercy

And forgive us these things

We pray.

Show us how to walk out

Our repentance towards you

And our neighbors.

Amen

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Categories: Faith, God, grief and death, growth, Hope, lament, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peace Longings Part Three

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(I am reblogging this today.  It was part of a three part poem I wrote in 2016. A longing for peace that has only increased.)

How many tears

Can the oceans hold?

When will this violence

Cease?

What will stop the cycle?

More violence is not the answer!

Have we not learned that, yet?

It only prolongs and increases

The destruction and death.

We must wake up!

All must do the work

Of the farmer

Go back to the basics

Sow the seeds of peace

Tears of repentance

And forgiveness

The courageous ones

Will walk towards their enemies

With hands empty

Save for peace

This earth does not belong

To those who devour it

But to the Meek

The gentle of heart

The tide will turn

Wait for it

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

 

Categories: Faith, Hope, Life, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maundy Thursday: Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

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Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God. Trust also in me. (Jesus) John 14:1

 

What about when violence seems to be in the water we drink, in the air we breathe, the rule of the day?  What about when lives of children are taken without a second thought, gunned down on beaches, in airports and by drones taking out whole families?  When a president of a private christian university encourages students to arm themselves and take out people of a different religion?

 

How do we live in these days when politicians skew all decency and accusations fly through the air waves thick with fear and racism?

 

Do we pull back and hide, stockpile goods and arms?  Protecting ourselves and a few others perhaps?  I seem to recall One saying “if you choose to save your life you will lose it”.

 

This terror, this fear is like a vortex, spinning out of control,  if you get too close to it will suck you in and down.

 

There is another way.  It is a way that refuses to lump people into categories of other, evil, enemies, or sub- human.  It chooses instead to pray for, to bless, yes even love our enemies. It chooses to reach out across barriers to the other, the one who is different, has a different hue to their skin, or language on their tongue or culture I do not understand.  It chooses to seek understanding and to bridge the gap rather than build another wall.

 

This is the path of peace, the way of love, the road to life.  

 

Here we are today Maundy Thursday, approaching Good Friday, before we can get to Easter.  What lessons are still here for us to learn as we see Jesus throw off his robe, tie a towel around his waist, pick up a basin of water, and wash his fearful, doubting, even betraying disciples’ feet? This, a precursor to what was to come the next day.  He laid down his life for all.  He calls us to follow Him.

 

“Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.”

 

There is a way through these times.  One deep breath, one step, one prayer, one cry, one embrace at a time.  It is a humble path and no one is saying it is easy. Is it possible?  Well, what is impossible with man, is possible with God.  Let’s choose this path of peace instead of participating in the destruction of our planet.  

Categories: Faith, God, Good Friday, Hope, Lent, Life, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Booties on the Ground

Reading to us

Booties on the Ground! My daughter shouted up the stairs as I was looking for my grandbabies little shoes before we headed out on an outing in some wet, cold weather. I found the little booties on the ground as she had instructed, but all the while thinking of the other phrase: “Boots on the Ground!” The meaning of going to war sending our young people in the path of bombs and bullets to send out their own bombs and bullets on “the enemy”.

 

The world  continues to ignite in firestorm after firestorm. Horrific acts of terrorism and war.  Violence in our streets and in our schools.  Natural disasters leaving misery and grief in their wake. It would be easy to lose hope, but that is one thing we cannot afford to lose.  We could do with losing some anger, hate, bitterness, revenge, fear and the like.  Those really need to go, because if we continue to feed them they grow and we suddenly become the very thing we hate or fear. There is a spiritual law that is not unlike the natural law of sowing and reaping.  You plant an apple seed you get an apple tree.  You plant the seed of hate, that is what grows.  I do not think we can stop the wars and violence in our societies with more violence. It is not working!

We continue to have more war and violence instead of less.  I heard a short clip by  Nobel Laureate

Shirin Ebadi. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-sZIl_R_BE

 

She said if we would have thrown books instead of bombs we would not be in this place we are now with ISIS.  Well we didn’t throw books we threw bombs on Iraq and Afghanistan.  Is it too late to undo this?  What can we do to stop this violence?  

 

Back to the Booties.  Are any of us adults considering what we are doing to the children of this world?  What if those in Booties could vote?  Make war or make peace? Have you seen these compelling photos of where Syrian children sleep?

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/lynzybilling/where-syrian-children-sleep#.saOnqG2Y7q

 

Please take some time to look at these photos.  What would their vote be?  Make war or make peace?

 

Making peace is not easy.  It is easier to flow on tides of hate and revenge. It takes great effort and humility to make peace.  It takes searching of our own hearts.  Where have I errored? Where have I disregarded another people different from my own?  It takes great courage to walk towards our enemy unarmed.

 

The bravest man I know did not arm himself to the teeth with weapons, or call in a numberless army to surround him on his assault against evil.  Instead, he picked up his cross and headed toward a hill.  He did the hardest work of sacrificing himself to make peace for his enemies to know God’s love. In doing so he stopped the spiritual forces of darkness arrayed to destroy mankind.  He was the same wiseman who said, “If we live by the sword we will die by the sword.” At another time he put a little child in the middle of his followers and asked: “Do you want to be great?  Then become like this little child.”  

 

This is my call today.  “Booties on the Ground!” Let us become like children and choose what is best for them.  I think we all can agree that peace rather than war is best for our little ones.

 

Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, Hope, Life, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where is Ruth?

Where is Ruth?

It is hard to say

Love has grown cold

Now she is hiding away

 

Violence in the streets

The children cry

The strong take little notice

While the helpless die

 

Mercy is her sister

She has all but disappeared

without the both of them

It is Ruthless, as we feared

 

© 2014 Julie Clark

(Ruth means compassion.  As I reflect on the shocking violence in Gaza I wonder how the world allows compassion to be so overrun by ruthless leaders. How easily we forget that violence brings more violence.  If we live by the sword, we will die by the sword. The end never justifies the means.  They are one. May God have mercy on us all!)

Categories: Gaza, God, Life, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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