Monday, July 18, 2016

Bloody Sunday, again

         The wheel goes round and round. Does the Sabbath mean nothing at all any longer?
         In a world in which cheek turning is becoming obsolete in the most cruel sort of way, I can’t believe I’m writing about these things again, and again, and again, but I am. Will it ever end? Will it ever stop?
         Or are we one of those gerbil’s on a wheel in somebody’s cage?
         I wonder.
         I can't believe the news today
         Oh, I can't close my eyes
         And make it go away
         How long
         How long must we sing this song
         How long, how long
         'Cause tonight, we can be as one
         Broken bottles under children's feet
         Bodies strewn across the dead end street
         But I won't heed the battle call
         It puts my back up
         Puts my back up against the wall
         Sunday, Bloody Sunday
         U2 – Bloody Sunday
         Blood came raining down on Sunday, March 7, 1065, Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, and, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery. Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, the officers shot teargas and waded into the crowd, beating the nonviolent protesters with billy clubs and ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people.
         Blood came raining down on Sunday, January, 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland. British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march against internment. Fourteen people died: thirteen were killed outright, while the death of another man four months later was attributed to his injuries. Many of the victims were shot while fleeing from the soldiers and some were shot while trying to help the wounded.
         Yesterday Death beat the drum slowly again, as once again blood came raining down.
         Three men were shot to death and at least 15 other people were wounded in shootings from late Sunday morning into the night on the West and South sides of Chicago, police said. 
         An 18-year-old man was fatally shot and a 33-year-old man was wounded in a shooting in the Austin neighborhood around 11:50 p.m., according to police.  The two men were at a house party in the 5000 block of West Jackson Boulevard when they were shot.
         In Baton Rouge, of course, three policemen were shot to death and three more injured in an apparent ambush by one shooter.
         It’s time someone stepped up, spoke up, stood up and said this must stop. Must. Stop.
         In the past few years, mass shootings/deaths have grown so quickly it’s hard to even get a mind around them. Now they’re using trucks to kill. Now they’re killing cops. Now they, whomever they are, are dreaming up next week’s deaths as I write.
         We live in a world that is increasingly violent, increasingly split or divided.
         What do we do in those instances when peace can’t be found no matter how much we want it?
         In his fascinating essay “Why I Am Not a Pacifist,” C. S. Lewis considers Jesus’s injunction regarding “turning the other cheek,” which he believes cannot be intended to rule out protecting others. “Does anyone suppose,” he asks, “that our Lord’s hearers understood him to mean that if a homicidal maniac, attempting to murder a third party, tried to knock me out of the way, I must stand aside and let him get his victim?”
         If Jesus is calling for absolute nonviolence based on Matthew 5:38–39, then we would be under obligation to turn the cheek of a third party. Lewis prefers to accept the plain reading of this text.
         Jesus’s audience consisted of “private people in a disarmed nation,” and “war was not what they would have been thinking of” by any stretch of the imagination. (2) Lewis’s understanding proceeds on a plain reading of the text.     
         In the end, the Christian is called to resist evil when and where it is possible, as saints past and present always have understood. And the apostle Paul states in no uncertain terms that the magistrate exists precisely for this divinely instituted function:
         Let it begin before Sunday, bloody Sunday, comes back next week.



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