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.