Tuesday, October 25th marked the day that the 2000th member of the US Armed Forces died in the war in
The estimates of Iraqi civilians killed in the war and resulting civil chaos is by conservative estimates now over 25000. The numbers of people wounded or displaced by the war and the civil unrest is very high.
Numbers mean very little, of course. The first life lost is as valuable as the last, and the number 2000 is just a number. Today one columnist suggested that actually, the war in
In what terms are the human cost of war to be measured? Perhaps the measurement must be in terms of the cause, perhaps in terms of the willingness to live and die for one’s comrades, perhaps in terms of the greater good. Perhaps there is no way to describe the full measure of devotion by which someone will take up arms and place themselves in harm’s way.
In any event today, October 26th, in the little town of
When we look at the stars in the heavens our may think of the Creator and the creation are a source of glory and grace. When we look at the stars knit together with twine, held by one hundred and ten regular paid up Americans, we still can think of the stars in the heavens, and the Creator who is the source of all our hope. But we look to at the lost stars, lost with so many others who die at the hands of others. Each has a name, and each name is of some mother’s child. In our destruction we know how far we are indeed from the glory that is God’s.
In the midst of all this, in the remembering and silence I am reminded that among the human costs of war are the ways in which the glory and grace, otherwise found in the beauty of nature and the wonder of the created order get transmogrified into the glory of devotion and the grace of camaraderie under fire. Great things of the human spirit are revealed in war, but none is so great that it justifies the deadening of the spirit in the grief of those whose lives are changed forever, and not for the good.
The Silent Vigil is the right spiritual practice for remembering. But there is also the need for the Vocal Vigil: the cry of anguish and the shout of outrage that stands as witness agains our self created horrors.
The human cost of war, particularly when it is war without clear purpose and reason, ought to be a source of public grief and political outrage.
The Silent Vigil is one side of the mirror. The Vocal Vigil is the other. The Church as a source of spiritual strength needs to be part of both the Silent and the Vocal Vigil.
I am profoundly disappointed in the Church on both counts. At our Silent Vigil very few clergy take part. In the Political and Public Verbal Vigil too little is heard from the churches.
Yesterday I asked of a 1600 member list serve what people were doing regarding the occasion of the 2000th death of an American member of the Armed Forces. I had three responses.
Today I looked at the web sites of various Anglican and Episcopal entities to see if there was any comment at all about the war. There was none that I could find. I was reminded by people who read the first draft of this that there have been statements earlier by bishops and others, but I was looking for something these past two days. I found nothing.
Surely the people of the Church know the deaths continue? But where is the action, or reflection?