Mar 23, 2016

Prayer for Brussels: God of Peace, Where are You?

Here’s a prayerful reflection in the wake of yesterday's terrorist attacks on the city of Brussels. It was written by Pastor Shannon Diana Keeney, from First United Methodist Church in Littleton, New Hampshire.

God of Peace, Where Are You?

God of Peace where are you?

We ask this question as we watch what humans do.
We harm, destroy, and fight.
We look at each other with jealousy and spite
and yet we ask where you are
isn’t that bizarre?

Every day it seems thousands die in a war zone
and I just flick through the images like nothing on my phone.
The news says, “Hundreds of Refugees Sink”
and anymore I barely stop to think.
Yesterday, it was an attack on the Belgium nation
as bombs exploded in the Zaventem airport & the Maelbeek station.
Screams, shouts, fear, and dread
this is the scene of which I have read.
Toddlers’ squeal while their mother died
How can we claim to call ourselves civilized?

It isn’t God that is not there
I fear it is us that have forgotten to care.
It almost seems like we are jaded by these tragedies,
too much loss and too many casualties.
We say “another bomb”, “another school shooting”
“oh look there is a city with racial violence and looting.”
I fear we as a world have turned off our tears
and replaced them with ignorance and fears.

No longer do we stop and pray;
hoping to be inspired to another way.
Instead it is “I will offer up a prayer at some other time
because look the grocery store has oranges at 1.49.”
I worry for myself that I am becoming jaded
that my global compassion has faded.
Has something broken inside my psyche or soul
replaced with a cynical black hole?
Maybe that is more to my point
I feel like after a crisis we should feel a sense of disjoint.
For in each of these massacres
an impasse occurs
The World should be at a standstill, a moment of pain.
Where only silence may reign.
There is a part of humanity that dies
while the victims offer their final cries.

So what can I say to the church that I pastor?
The truth is there are no human words to address this disaster
only the heavenly message of Hope and Love.
The truth of the peace that comes with the Dove.
Only God can speak
for humanity is just too weak.
We are broken and lost.

But into these moments God speaks Easter and Pentecost.
God says remember “This is not the end
on me your world can depend.
I have watched your revolutions and world wars
seen your armies and your corps.
Been at battlefields in Rome, India, and Babylon
seen the world offer weaponry and brawn.
It is true I have been present at hangings and beheadings
but I have also been there at births and at weddings.
Stood with Friedensengel and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
Whispered in emperor’s ears to not be so territorial.
I cannot stop everything because of your free will
but do not think I am silent or still.
I was there in that airport wrapping the dying in grace.
You, humanity, may look away but for me that is not the case.
I am there in your terror, in your wars, in your worst
under the cover of gunfire, I have nursed.

I challenge you, humanity,
in the midst of such horror and insanity
to not get caught up in political outspokenness
but live in the pain of the brokenness.
Do not distance yourselves just because it doesn’t make sense
Work on sharing kindness and openness not building a fence
Emotional walls are the worst kind
for all you protect is your mind.
To be a real change you must face the hurt
do not let your sense of fear make your eyes avert.
Know that there is hope somewhere, sometime
because Love can and will speak even in Wartime.”

~ written by Pastor Shannon Diana Keeney, First United Methodist Church – Littleton, NH.