Let’s Hear the Prayer Bells
and the Trumpets of Peace
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly..” – Joel 2:15
I had a heart-wrenching wake-up call this morning. It was like a trumpet-call of attention.
After just a short rest following my 24 hour shift at the hospital, I had jumped on the machines at the gym. My wife calls “Did you hear about Nairobi?”
My heart sunk.
As you may remember from a previous blog, last year my wife Katharine and I opened our heart and lives to a young lady from Kenya who we loved and embraced as if she was our own daughter. It was for both of us a life-changing experience. Well, Nairobi is the city where her school is.
The news was a group had gone in and shot up a mall near where she lives. So for a good hour or two my heart could barely beat in fear of what might become of her.
Which reminded me in one of the more frightening ways I can imagine that today is the International Day of Prayer for Peace. For many of us, I think the reality of violence was brought home in the gassing of the citizens of Syria a short time ago, and the threat of war still hangs over us while we hope and pray for a peaceful resolution to the human rights abuses going on there and elsewhere in this world.
I want to invite and challenge folks reading this to take a few minutes to meditate on the conflict in the world and how you can be a source of peace in your neighborhood, your life, and your world.
I hope in honor of this call to prayer to spend some time throughout this upcoming week with reflections on peace on my blog. Please join me in your own way in prayer for peace.
Today as a reflection on the cost of violence on our lives, here is a poem I wrote in honor of the international day of prayer for peace. Along with it I am including a video of one of my favorite prayers for peace sung by the 1980’s rock band “White Lion”.
Wherever there is violence, war, and abuse of human rights whether by government, terrorists, or gangs in the streets, we need to pray for the Prince of Peace’s reign to be made known. Wherever those evils reigns, someone’s baby girl – and baby boy – lies threatened and risk.
Let us turn our hearts to the hurting and broken in our world, letting our prayers and our lives be answers to their cries of violence and war.
And I’m not just whistling Dixie here,
your progressive redneck preacher,
hear the rip of it tearing in my hands
and think of the calloused skin
of men toiling under the hot sun
often with little pay
in constant threat,
ever asking themselves:
Will I be sent back as illegal
despite their long labors
and searching for hope
toiling to plant and harvest the grain that bore this loaf?
As I open my mouth, ready to whisper ancient words
I cannot but think of the body I watched
laying still and quiet
a tangle of cords its shroud
entombed amidst white hospital walls
just as sure as that fated Galilean lay
in rocky borrowed grave
the only sounds surrounding it are
the constant beep of machines
we call life support
which instead of bringing life
simply delay the inevitable
freeing of that one woman’s soul
from a body
transformed from a house of joy
to a stifling prison of pain,
a sound that mingles with
machine-borne labored breaths
which together resound in that room
like water dripping
deep below Linville caverns.
“This is my body,” my lips whisper
and I cannot but have my mind transported
to the hills and seas of Uganda
where Idi Amin left bodies
of little girls
just like that African princess
who is like a daughter to me
whom he thought defective,
and the smoke clouds of Aushwitz,
which rose engulfing all those
whom madmen called unworthy
while good people watched unmoved.
and think of the man
whose life remains shattered
by one he trusted as a boy
who left scars no , nor time itself, can heal.
as I remember little girls and mothers
hiding for their life
from the ones that left them bruised.
in each of them the Sacred Light burns bright
just as surely as it shined in Mary’s baby boy
and in me.
This is my cup, I hear him whisper as I say his words
poured out in you and many.
how often we fail to see.
We say “keep those dirty souls out of our parks”
not letting love win for the likes of them.
We say “send them back”,
forgetting that it is in their eyes,
eyes of the stranger
and the poor,
that the Savior’s eyes shine back upon us.
We say “they are too far away”
while so many baby girls
fall under tyrant’s tank
and terrorist’s bomb
their fathers likewise
helpless to save them.
And I fall to my knees
all those I turned away
calling crazy, faggot,
wetback, and gimp
heart broken wide,
face wet with tears.
And somehow, somewhere,
in the music of the moment
I hear a whispered reminder
This, broken, is my body.
Be my body, broken with the broken,
be my life, poured out to the empty.
Let us lay a table together
in the valley of death
so your cup overflows
with drank of healing
for all my who lie broken
trembling in fear.