Monday March 10, 2003

untitled. maybe “pray for the troops” mosaic 6pm. austin, tx usa

we’re talking about war… I haven’t been in town for the past few weeks when there’s been discussion, so this is the first time I’m thinking about war in this context. we’re talking about just war theory… candles, silence, questions, theory. a story: at some event, people began by praying for US troops but that was it… a reminder that we should be praying for peace, first… the avoidance of war…

I sit, listen, think, breathe. heaviness. a dull ache growing in my being, my heart, my mind. sure, it’s good to pray for the troops – they’re probably scared, maybe never seen combat, maybe it’s been 10 years since they’ve seen combat… the stories on cnn talk about soldiers missing important events in their families’ and loved ones lives. touching anecdotes.

but what about the anecdotes for the people of iraq? one of the war plans I read about has more bombs in Baghdad in the first few days than in the entire 91 war. civilian deaths would be high. Flashes of images of Iraqi children cowering in fear play like movies in my head. asking why the US is so angry… parents not being able to explain. why are there bombs falling? death and destruction. children stumble, mothers pull them along. bombs in the night, nowhere to run. sirens. darkness.

we sing “don’t leave this place… we are scared that we’ll be left here all alone… so we fall down on our faces…” it’s a nice night. i’m not afraid of bombs in this candle-lit room. but I see Iraqi Christians begging God to have mercy. what does it feel like when the Spirit leaves? He doesn’t, right? children, falling down on their faces out of terror, fear, running to a safe place, any place, away from the destruction. I ask for Jesus to help the hurting, because I don’t know what else to do. to speak peace to the frightened children to the mothers who don’t know what to do and have nowhere to go. “you are the sunlight in our darkness… you are the life within our graves.” so many graves…. Holy Spirit stay…

no one is innocent, I know. but they have no say. they don’t have a voice. I ask for protection for the children, but in my heart doubt that God would do it. not because he can’t, but because… I don’t know why. they have no say, but will suffer so much because of war. we might face orange alerts or higher gas prices for our cars (our own individual cars!). we even complain about the number of news stories about it. I want to see past that.

I don’t know what the answers are. yes, many have died under hussein’s rule. does the good of the war outweigh the evil? I don’t know. but I pray. I am thankful for the ache, though it hurts, it’s persistent and invasive. but I carry it with me, allow it to poke my heart. so many others cannot push the ache away. in good conscience, I cannot either.

so…

pray for “our” troops, yes…

but they have guns.

and tanks and missiles.

when did American lives become more valuable than anyone else’s?

pray for the people. facing an impending downpour of destruction.

don’t leave this place…

<the unseen gulf war – from last time around.  just a warning, it ain’t pretty.

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