His Eye is on the Sparrow: 4000 fallen

The Hymn goes: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me," and echoes Jesus' comment, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father." We believe that God will watch over all who fall, and who after all are worth more than many sparrows and yet, Lord help us in our unbelief.

So many are fallen:

On May 1, 2003 President George Bush stood before a banner on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln that said, "Mission Accomplished." At that point 140 US and 33 Coalition forces had been killed. Now, five years later, on Easter Day, the count stands at 4000 US and 308 Coalition forces have died. Ninety seven percent of all US/Coalition forces have died after "major combat" had been declared completed.

Since the war began, on March 20, 2003, over 29,300 members of the Armed Forces have been wounded in hostilities. One hundred forty-five took their own lives.

The numbers of Iraqi civilians killed as a result of the war and the chaos that has followed is hard to estimate, somewhere between 89,000 and 150,000.

God counts the sparrows, and we pray God remembers.

Every week since the count reached 1000, a group of local citizens have gathered in Lewes to remember the human costs of war. The line is there from 1 to 1:30 PM, week in and week out. We were there again yesterday, Easter Day 2008. It was sunny but cold. At that point the count was 3996.

On the feast of the Resurrection I much confess I was not ready to stand on the line, tired and happy from the morning's celebration of Easter. But standing there I wondered if resurrection was enough, or if God's eye being on the sparrow and watching us is enough.

I kept thinking of God being more engaged than watching. Standing on the line I kept feeling that the proper parallel to Resurrection is in this case Insurrection. To rise up and make captivity to death captive requires not only New Life, it requires a willingness to demand change.

And perhaps change in ourselves. It is time for America to get over its Imperial ambitions. Perhaps it is time for us too to die and be raised up made new.


  1. The birds on the feeder appear to be cowbirds which lay their eggs in other birds' nests. The young cowbirds push the other youngsters out of the nest. Hmmm. Seems a most appropriate choice of photo.

  2. Last year, during the first week of March (the second week of Lent), another Episcopal priest and I walked from the steps of St. Mark's in Richmond Va to the steps of the National Cathedral --on a Lenten pilgrimage, to pray for those who would never walk again (living and dead), and for the 1M+ Iraqi civilian refugees walking-running for their lives. It took us 5 days to walk the 100+ miles (yes, it was about 18-20 miles per day). It was a difficult and painful pilgrimage--on so many levels. Upon arrival at the Cathedral, we fasted and prayed aloud for the 3,000+ American dead. We were joined by members of the Cathedral and others--and even so, it took us several hours to pray aloud for all the dead. And now, to think that would take even longer....

    Did anyone see "Frontline" (PBS) on Sunday night? it was about the war--I found it so devastatingly sad, but I recommend it. You can catch it online too.

    Day after day, tragic empires....

    God help us and bless us,

  3. We're singing from the same hymnal on this one.


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