Tonight I was sitting watching one of my favorite Sunday night shows “Brothers and Sisters” when a national news report came in to interrupt the show. The news report was to announce that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I understand that many people have lost their lives and that Bin Laden probably didnt deserve to live on this earth. However I cannot help but think about what Jesus said in our gospel reading from John this morning. “My peace I give to you.” Tonight my fb feed is full of statuses about this news. But I cannot bring myself to celebrate death of any kind! Im uncomfortable celebrating anyone’s death; no matter who that person is! In the midst of moments like this, I find myself continuing to pray even more for shalom for God’s people! In the book of Proverbs, we hear these words, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles (Proverbs 24:17).” I know this is not easy for us to do but again I am reminded of those words we heard from Jesus, “My peace I give to you.” I could go on and on with other verses that will make us reflect on what happened tonight. Look up Romans 12:16-21 or Matthew 5:43-44!But in the midst of this historical event, I cant help but think about what Jesus says to us when our enemies fall. What example did Jesus set for us?
A friend had this quote on her fb status tonight and it seems so fitting. It was the words I was searching for as I listened and heard the news of Bin Laden’s death. “There are no good guys when it comes to hate. Our hope is not in death, our hope is in reconciliation through the life that is the light of the world!”
“Peace be with you, my friends!”
I posted some of my discomfort or at the very least conflicting emotions last night, too. I can't imagine and don't feel like rejoicing in someone's death, but I'm trying to get my mind around the experiences of some for whom that response feels like it is justified – – particularly those closer to the 9/11 attacks than I ever was. It's sort of like how sometimes the Psalms don't speak of my experience, so I try to imagine whose experiences they are. Or even pieces of Scripture like Miriam's song in Exodus which does rejoice in an enemy's death. I'm pretty certain that there is still never a good time to celebrate someone else's death, but trying to understand those who feel like there is, trying to understand those who feel like this brings "closure" is helping me figure out how to address this whole thing pastorally, and hopefully soon, homiletically.
I can't stop thinking about Bonhoeffer and the class I took in seminary with Bryant. He spent the later part of his life trying to discern if God could call him to kill someone. The rejoicing of so called "Christians" kind of bothers me.
A Jesuit priest has a very well-written article on The Huffington Post. I linked to it from my FB wall. It followed much the same line of reasoning as your post, Tara. I have to agree. I can't rejoice over this, and what's more, I fear the images of Americans chanting "U! S! A!" and the headline of one of the East Coast newspapers reading "Rot in Hell" will only come back to haunt us.
I like your friend's FB status post.