Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Confrontation Monday, Part II

This month also marks the 3rd anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie. Those of you who attended the King Fling Sunday service at Cresent Hill Baptist Church heard Gary Persecepe preach about her. Rachel was volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement in the Occupied Territories in the Gaza Strip. She was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home when she was deliberately run over by an Israeli-operated, American-made bulldozer. She was 23 years old.

In an e-mail to her parents that Rachel had written about the horrible violence that she’d seen of the Israelis towards the Palestinians, she said, This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my co-workers. But I also want this to stop.

Joseph Smith, one of her friends and fellow activists from Kansas City, Missouri, who was there when Rachel died, wrote:

Few activists actually come to Palestine planning to come to Rafah. In fact, many have to be talked into it, as the West Bank has gotten so much more publicity. But Rachel had heard about Rafah from a good friend of hers who'd spent time here a few months ago, and he told her about how neglected Rafah is by the world, and by the activist community. She was also aware of how dangerous Rafah is. In fact, more people have been killed per-capita in Rafah than any other place in Palestine. So not only is it the most dangerous place, but it is also considered the poorest city in all of Palestine, a country considered one of the poorest in the world. Rafah is one of the poorest and most dangerous places in the world, and Rachel made a B-line straight for it.

Rachel Corrie, broken for her love of the Palestinian people.

I was writing this last night when Dave called, and told me that that Tom Fox was found dead a day or so ago. Tom Fox, a Quaker from Clear Brook, Virginia, was in Baghdad with a Christian Peacemaker Team, when he and three others were kidnapped. They were there to be a protective non-violent presence for the people of Iraq.

In his blog, written shortly after Hurricane Katrina, he quoted Elizabeth Blackwell, who said, “I must have something in life which will fill this vacuum and prevent this sad wearing away of the heart.”

This was the quote today in my planner as I considered the tragedies both great and small, personal and global we are all dealing with.

He goes on to talk about about a Swiss study on how many casualities there have been since the beginning of the U.S. led invasion on Iraq: The study stated that 40,000 Iraqis have probably died from violence since March of 2003. That includes death from U.S., Iraqi and insurgent violence. And 70% of those casualties were innocent non-combatants, mainly women and children.

The only “something in my life” I can hold onto is to do what little I can to bring about the creation of the Peaceable Realm of God. It is my sense that such a realm will always have natural disasters. It is the “man-made” disasters that we are called upon to bring to an end.

Tom Fox, broken for his love of the Peaceable Realm of God.

The Gospel of Mark tells us that after Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, he headed straight to the Temple, and looked around, but determining that it was late, went out to Bethany to spend the night. Sometimes we portray the “Cleansing of the Temple,” as we often call it, as a spur of the moment action on Jesus’ part. He was so overcome by emotion that he couldn’t help himself. In the movie Jesus Christ Superstar (which I really like, by the way), the disciples look at Jesus like he’s blown a gasket after he turns over a few tables. But I’m thinking that the disciples probably knew what he was going to do—after all, the Gospel of John tells us that he fashioned a whip. He didn’t just grab someone else’s, he fashioned his own. And Mark tells us that he looked around on Sunday night, but because it was so late, he went back to Bethany. Because it was so late, so late for what? Jesus knew what he was going to do. Just as he planned his entry into Jerusalem, you go and get a donkey, and when they say this, you say that, he planned this action in the temple.

Scholars say that it was this one action that most directly led to his death. As I said last week, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, had assigned local authority to the temple and its authorities. Now it was their job to be loyal to Rome, to maintain order, and collect enough money for a yearly tribute. Now the temple was the central economic and political institution in the country, now the temple was the center of local collaboration with Rome.

On Sunday Jesus challenged Roman imperial power. On Monday, Jesus challenged the high priest collaborators.

by Pastor Cindy, more to come...


Post a Comment

<< Home