Friday, July 07, 2006

Standing Up

What might justice look like that is driven by love? I’m talking about undying love. A mother or father’s love? We know the story of the Good Father who welcomed his prodigal son home with open arms. Even though the son wasted all the money his father gave him, his father let that go, forgave him instantly and gave him back what belonged to him. His dignity, and this place in the family.

There’s another story. One of the undying love of a mother.

Listen to the story of the Good Mother, Rizpah, from the book of 2 Samuel.

Rizpah stayed by the bodies of her dead sons until she got what was due them. From harvest time until spring rains, she fended off the birds and the wild animals, keeping watch until justice was done. Whether this story truly happened or not is really not the issue here. What is important is that the author shows us what it looks like to do justice by standing up in love for another. God blessed her resolve, and King David was shamed into gathering the bones of these impaled innocents, and burying them with the bones of King Saul and his son Jonathan.

There’s another mother who is standing up, guarding the memory of her dead son. Her name is Cindy Sheehan. On August 11, 2005, she camped out near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, hoping to get an audience from him regarding her questions about why her son, Casey had to die in Iraq. She buried him over a year ago, but his was not a proper burial. Justice for Cindy Sheehan will occur when the President is able to explain just what Casey was fighting for. Unlike King David, the President has yet to be shamed into doing right by Casey Sheehan and giving honor to his death. But Cindy continues to stand up for Casey, guarding his memory until the powers that be give him what is rightfully his – a purpose for his sacrifice.

Two GOOD Mothers, over two thousand years apart, standing up for their children and non-violently challenging the powers that be. Cindy wrote in her letter from Crawford, TX while she waited for President Bush to agree to meet with her (which he never did),

“The President said that my son – and the other children we’ve lost – died for a noble cause. I want to find out what that noble cause is. And I want to ask him, ‘If it’s such a noble cause, have you asked your daughters to enlist? Have you encouraged them to go take the place of the soldiers who are on their third tour of duty?’ This is George Bush’s accountability moment. The mainstream media aren’t holding him accountable. Neither is Congress. So, I’m not leaving Crawford until he’s held accountable.”

Wherever you stand with the validity of the war in Iraq is not the issue here. What is important is that Cindy is showing us what it looks like to do justice by standing up in love for another. The verdict is still out on whether she’ll get her answers. But she now has the support of millions who believe that the powers should be held accountable.

Doing justice can start out as a lonely endeavor, as it did for these two moms, but with God all things are possible. In fact, it is only WITH God that we have the power to make a difference. Let us ask God for the gift of endurance as we endeavor to stand up in love for those who are waiting for justice.


One of a series of devotions by Michelle, who recently helped lead a Mennonite youth camp and is cool that way.


At 7/8/06, 10:10 AM, Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Wow! Powerful stuff! Thanks for posting this!


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