I’ve been praying the news today with a heavy heart today. The headline: “We’re prepared to strike.” President Obama and his advisers plan to seek congressional approval to strike Syria in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Reports suggest over 1400 people died as the result of chemical weapons. When I pray the news I use two primary questions.
The first is, “Loving God, what would you have me learn?” I found as I asked this question, rather than a straight forward answer, I was engaging in an internal conversation.
Stop the killing, is the cry. Yes, indeed, stop the killing.
We want to strike to stop Assad from further violence and inflicting further casualties and death on his own people. Yes, intervene. Yes, stop the killing. A military strike? How many people will we kill in order to stop the killing? I predict, when (unfortunately not if) we strike, in the end we will kill more than 1400 people. The mathematics simply doesn’t add up. Stop the killing by increasing the death toll. It doesn’t make sense.
I cannot imagine that a family who loses a father or mother, brother or sister, wife or husband, or child to a US strike will hurt less knowing that the strike is going to “stop the killing.” Their beloved one is no less dead than those who died at the hand of Asaad.
The second question is: “God of Compassion, how would you have me show your love?” As I asked this question, I felt compelled to write this blog in the hopes that others will pray with me. I found myself entering into the lives of the people who are grieving the loss of their dead family members and friends and projecting myself into the grief of the people who will suffer the same loss. I believe there has to be a better way to stop the killing—theirs and ours. We have relied on force for so many millennia we have almost given up hope of finding a better way. I’m praying that we will.
When I finished writing, I did not say amen. I sighed a heavy sigh.