Look at those two pictures. Notice the similarities of the two. Both have flags. Both have people cheering and being jubilant.
Both of them are after someone got killed.
I've been processing the death of Bin Laden since Sunday. (interesting enough its at the same time I'm processing the shooting death of the brother of one my friends in Auburn that happened Sunday also). Its hard to grasp the magnitude of the death of OBL. His death is symbolic of many things. For Al Qaeda, for America, for the individual. It is a complete mixed bag of emotions trying to figure out what I'm supposed to feel and think about this event.
I was in the US Army. I was trained to kill the enemy. I am a pastor. I was trained to love my enemy.
This dichotomy that exists in my experience and vocation clouds my mind to the point of confusion. Trying to unpack it all and come up with a sensible response is hard. On one hand, I guess I should be glad that OBL is gone, because 'they' tell me that means that there will be less terror upon America. On the other hand, I am faced with the reality that a flesh and bones person died on Sunday, at the hands of a military fighter.
As I look at those pictures, I reflect back to 9/11. On that day there were people cheering in the streets and we got upset. Now, we look at ourselves, cheering in our streets over someone's death. I'm challenged to think that maybe we're no different than any other nation. Perhaps we're a bunch of revengeful thugs, wanting to extract blood from our enemies. Sunday was no VJ day. No war was ended. No one is coming home. The threat has not been averted. It will continue.
I don't like terror. I don't like death. I don't like having to deal with the reality of my own rage that lives inside of me and the reality of the propensity for violence that lives inside of me also. It all doesn't make sense.
So what is my response to it all?
I'm going to pray. I'm going to put it in God's hands. I'm not giving up, I'm giving it over. There is a difference.
I can't begin to understand everything or make sense of it all, but I do know this- There is a God who created us who loves us and I don't think that likes us going around killing each other. Does He allow it? Apparently so, because it continues to happen. But I'm not so sure that its the best course for humanity, this back and forth of killing and death.
What the nugget for today? This is all I got- Before coming to Jesus Christ, the Bible says I was an enemy of God. Now, through faith, I am now a child of God. I can appreciate the necessity of defense of the person or the country that at times necessitates violence, but in any scenario, it is not something to cheer over.
Who knows if this makes sense today- its my ramblings, but I wanted to say something, however so incoherent and try to make sense of it, for me at least. Put in a comment for what you think. I want to know.
ps. I pulled these images off of google- dont' know whose they are, they are not mine. Please do not give me credit for them.