There is a god of War. Mars. Whenever I teach students about mythology, I can almost see Mars with bloody teeth, grinning.
Our true God led the chosen people in and through wars as a pillar of fire in the Old Testament. Jesus, son of God, on the other hand, is beautiful peace, he who healed the ear of Malchus, an enemy’s servant (Lk. 22).
I do not want more war. No more war in Afghanistan. No more in the Middle East. None in Syria– war may be coming whether God or I will it.
I am not saying that America, nor any other nation should simply allow genocide. People have been killing others in a list (too short no matter when I write this) of pre- “Americans” who killed Native Americans; Nazis who slaughtered Jews, POWs, homosexuals, gypsies; Russia that starved and murdered its own people. The world must help bring justice to such atrocities.
There is much to try to understand; I struggle to grasp murders in Rwanda and in the Congo, the chemically damaged babies, women, and men in Syria. I watched the news online searching for answers and found some, but none satisfied me.
It is like chasing the devil across the earth. He seems everywhere at once, grinning his fleshless satisfaction. I did not choose to seek him online. I was afraid I might find him.
While searching, I had CNN news on and a story came up about school shootings in America. Although hardly genocide, sadly death seems to be a daily theme in our media. An African American woman was being interviewed about how she see had talked down a gun man. She told him stories of some of the hardships in her life and how (she invoked God’s name often) she prayed for him.
I was in tears by the end of the short clip. I wondered if I could pray for the enemy. Not just pray for the enemy (turning the other cheek verbally), but to do so with him (her) right there! Somehow she was able to save the elementary children by distracting the disturbed individual. She gave God all the credit and insisted she isn’t a hero.
I realize I cannot go before our soldiers and pray for each and every “bad” Syrian (or any other evil person). I do not know if every individual praying at once would make a difference. People make horrible decisions and God has given us free will to decide to do so.
Would I defend my family? Yes. Would I defend my students? Yes. I would try. I would do what I could, or likely die trying. Would I pray. Yes. Unceasingly.
And so I have been. I know it may not be enough. They need medicine, medical help, money, and most of all, peace.
I have been praying for those who cannot defend themselves. I prayed for those who have killed others in Syria to STOP. I pray for our soldiers who may be in the air, guarding a base, guarding our President, sitting and waiting to push a button on an electronic killing machine, or on a Naval ship (like one of my students is right now. He emailed me last night to admit it).
I pray it does not have to come to violence and more death. I pray for our country, right or wrong. I pray for those who do not believe in God or who worship Him using another name.
I fear still and I worry a lot, but I shall continue to pray. I pray we, as America, do the right thing.
I read about Herod and Herodian today as well (Mt. 14). Everyone stood by and did nothing as Salome, the dancer who had pleased Herod, asked for the head of John the Baptist. The crowd at the party was too afraid to act. The man in charge was afraid of being made to look weak. John the Baptist is still known as a peaceful individual, despite his murder.
May we not stand by. May we protect and defend. I still wish that violence did not have to come, but it may have come to us already.