Monday, May 02, 2011

O. bin Laden and the Sparrow

Dead upon the ground lies a vulture. The rain trickles down and a little sideways with a sorrowful patter. There are no men in suits, no human eulogy. There is a vague sound in the chilly thick air as of the shuffling of six folded wings. There is only one attendee. The lone mourner speaks a heartfelt benediction over the black lifeless feathers on the grass. A rough stone suggests the remembrance of a menhir. Forget-me-nots and buttercups wreath the animal with the bittersweet calico of grief and joy. It soared high as the highest in its time, despised and rejected among men.

In the South, at least, I drive past dead animals so often that it is easy to grow numb to the twinge in my stomach when I recall the loss of life. Any life. That is not to say I don't eat meat. I am as grateful for Chicken Tetrazzini or Shrimp Scampi as the next guy, true. But it is also gladdening to know that the Lord attends the funerals of sparrows - and vultures. Most of the time, He's the only one.

In the last five years, we have seen the deaths of two men of power, both of whom used that power to incite fear and violence and to oppress. Their actions were Evil. The strictest Atheist would have to at least nod his head in half-hearted assent.

And yet.

And yet, it's frightening to hear people cheering the death of anyone. To hear songs of exultation and cheers, to have Death in any form lauded, is or ought to be disturbing. Lewis talks at length about the extent of patriotism in The Four Loves, and I am not inclined to disagree with him. He doesn't mention this, but I think it fair to say he would see no harm in relief at the death of an enemy. Certainly, the lengthier the enmity, the greater the relief. But Proverbs comes to mind, and Obadiah. The text of Obadiah is mostly a malediction against Edom, the nation of Esau.
You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble.
                                                                  -Obadiah v.12

Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
    When he stumbles, do not let your heart
or the Lord will see and disapprove
    and turn his wrath away from him.

                                                            -Proverbs 24:17

Greater men have tried and failed to unravel the Will of God with regard to the condemnation of God, so I do not pretend to understand that. But I cannot find it in my heart to sing patriotic hymns when an enemy falls. The Created of God is the Created of God, be he an enemy of the people or no. Thank God such a threat is abated, and thank the soldiers who put themselves in harm's way that we might be free. But know that God attends the funerals of even every sparrow.


and Blogger jladuked addressed the Senate...

Thanks Adam. Good word.

4:05 PM, May 09, 2011  

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