I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Hey! Its Memorial Day!

I always preach a Memorial Day-themed sermon on Memorial Day Weekend. I did so yesterday as well. I find the whole weekend to be an odd overlapping of sadness, joy, real reflection, and giddy anticipation. I also feel the need to acknowledge those who have died in the wars our country has taken part in. Today I am at work and may not get to any of the special events planned. It is a beautiful day for them. Next year I will make sure we have an American flag at the parsonage and we will fly that too...

I would post my sermon, but my computer broke and I am not willing to risk infecting the office computer on which I am typing right now. Suffice it to say that I talked about how we need to honor our veterans by really giving some serious thought to how we use our armed forces. We need to ask questions when things seem vague and we need to encourage serious debate and discussion. I think that one of the great lessons we can draw from the situation in Iraq is the importance of clarity over rhetoric and reason over emotion (certainly over fear).

The basic thesis was that war represents a failure of vision on the part of some or all of the leaders of humanity. To some extent, it is a failure of humanity, itself. This failure is, in part, because of our tendency to see the Divine in our enemies.

This is something Jesus, of course warns us about. However, my primary text yesterday was from the Song of Deborah. It is in Judges, look it up. Near the end, after describing the battle and the victorious tribes of Israel, we have a haunting image of the mother of the vanquished general, Sisera, waiting to hear the hoofbeats of her son's chariots. Of course, she never hears them. He is dead. The point is, our enemies have families and their lives are more like ours than not. The tragedy is that we cannot seem to realize this in time.

I suggested that we might want to honor the fallen by considering whether or not our current conflicts (and likely future ones) fit the criteria of a just war. We can do that while stuck in traffic towing our boats on I-95, if we must! Here is an explanation of the section of the Roman Catholic Catechism dealing with just war. It is a good place to start and I like to consider them in light of world events more than once a year. Please note that it assumes a defensive posture on the part of the "just' nation.

I also managed to smash my thumb in the car door last night, so Iwill stop typing now. Thanks to everyone who helped to paint the parsonage fence yesterday afternoon. It looks great!