Thursday, November 2, 2023

Poem for us all in a time of conflict

If you are like me, you’ve spent almost a month now in a haze of astonished horror at the level of evil we humans are unleashing on one another in the lands on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It’s frankly scary to say anything or give any opinion for fear of being misunderstood or drowned in a chorus of but-what-abouts, and yet silence feels wrong, too.

I wrote a poem tonight that does not even begin to encompass the grief I feel for scared and grieving Jewish friends, the mothers and fathers holding dead children in the ruins of Gaza, for peacemakers witnessing years of trust-building shattered, and for hearts so scarred by the indoctrination of evil that they think bringing about terror and death is actually approved of by their Creator. My prayers are with them all. 

About us All

We all seem so certain, don’t we-
We know what is right
We know what side to be on
We proclaim it loudly in the streets and on the screen
While others die and bleed and fight.

But some of us-
the only thing I know 
is that I cannot stand with those
Who sneer at a life because it isn’t “one of us.”
Who say it’s okay to kill the children on the other side
Because they are all animals and they deserve it- 
And they will only grow up to be monsters like their parents-
God- are we really doing this?
Tearing up posters of abducted Israeli children
And stomping on them, rejoicing in the murder of surprised and unsuspecting children and mothers and fathers and grandmas and grandpas because now the longed-for liberation is beginning?
Are we doing this?
Cutting off food and water to Palestinian children
And bombing civilians until the streets are stacked high
With bloody bodies wrapped in white sheets while doctors amputate limbs with no anesthesia?
What kind of beasts are we, humans?

We should marvel that God has grace on any of us at all
And does not sweep all humans away with one hand
And refuse to hear our cries of misery as we butcher each other, crying “I’m right! I’m right!”

I know nothing except that I have no hope
Except to trust in the God I have come to love
Who loves us so unreasonably and wholeheartedly that He even 
Prayed for our forgiveness as we nailed him to wooden bars and killed him and mocked him while we did it.
He is the only one with the power to make 
Terrorists and murderers
Into neighbors and friends 
Dictators into servants
Abusers into lovers
Sworn enemies and haters into brothers and sisters.
I’ll buy into that kind of power, I’ll gladly 
Lay down my life to follow it
The only power that breathes life instead of death into the world.

All praise to you, Lord of heaven and earth!
Who bides with us
And loves us
And transforms all who are willing into creatures of light.
Only one way to leave the stench of death behind us!
To shed the disgusting garments of atrocity and bloodshed
For clean hands and souls that build peace and sing for joy.

He is the only one I could march for, waving a flag 
But He is a king with no flag but one-

-Kirstie MacLeod, November 2, 2023

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