Wednesday, October 26, 2005

2000 Casualties Vigil

CNN reported the grim news yesterday; 2000 American soldiers have now died in Iraq. I'm heart-sick. I'm frustrated. I'm horrified. What have they died for, exactly? Does their suffering and the suffering of their families mean anything?

In response to this sad milestone, MoveOn is organizing candlelight vigils for tonight. I can't host one, due to the sad fact that the long-suffering spouse and I are both sick. It feels like our entire house is a Petri dish of flu germs; you do NOT want to be here! However, I don't think we're stumped.

Anyone who reads this blog and is so inclined is invited to join me, in spirit, at 6:30 tonight. Light a candle and reflect on these words:
Litany of Ashes and Stones, in memory of the dead of 9/11/01 and all victims of terrorism and war

For vibrant lives, suddenly and shamelessly sacrificed, we lift up the ashes of our loss, O God;
For the lives that continue, haunted forever by the pain of absence, we lift up the ashes of our remorse, O God;
For the conflagration of flames and the nightmare images forever seared into our memories, we lift up the ashes of our pain, O God;
For the charred visions of peace and the dry taste of fear, we lift up the ashes of our grief, O God;
For all that has been destroyed in the fire of anger, we lift up the ashes of our disillusionment, O God;
For all the deaths that have been justified with the arrogance of patriotism and fanaticism of ideology, we lift up the ashes of our shame, O God;

As we cast these ashes into the troubled water of our times, Transforming One, hear our plea that by your power they will make fertile the soil of our future and by your mercy nourish the seeds of peace.

For the ways that humanity pursues violence rather than understanding, we lift up the stones of our anger, O God;
For the ways we allow national, religious, and ethnic boundaries to circumscribe our compassion, we lift up the stones of our hardness, O God;
For our addiction to weapons and the ways of militarism, we lift up the stones of our fear, O God;
For the ways we cast blame and create enemies, we lift up the stones of our self-righteousness, O God;

As we cast these stones into the ancient river, transforming One, hear our plea.

Just as water wears away the hardest of stones, so too may the power of your compassion soften the hardness of our hearts and draw us into a future of justice and peace.

-Rev. Patricia Pierce, pastor of Tabernacle Church, Philadelphia

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