Friday, March 10, 2006

Because I do not hope

Desiring this man's gift
and that man's scope

Tom Fox is dead.

His body was found in Baghdad Friday.

If you don't know who he was, or what happened, there are two posts, here and here with more information. There is also the Christian Peacekeepers Team website, which currently has a release up, but I can't find a permanent link to it, so I have no idea how long it will be there. Here is a part of it:

In response to Tom’s passing, we ask that everyone set aside inclinations to vilify or demonize others, no matter what they have done. In Tom’s own words: "We reject violence to punish anyone. We ask that there be no retaliation on relatives or property. We forgive those who consider us their enemies. We hope that in loving both friends and enemies and by intervening nonviolently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation.”

Even as we grieve the loss of our beloved colleague, we stand in the light of his strong witness to the power of love and the courage of nonviolence. That light reveals the way out of fear and grief and war.

Through these days of crisis, Christian Peacemaker Teams has been surrounded and upheld by a great outpouring of compassion: messages of support, acts of mercy, prayers, and public actions offered by the most senior religious councils and by school children, by political leaders and by those organizing for justice and human rights, by friends in distant nations and by strangers near at hand. These words and actions sustain us. While one of our teammates is lost to us, the strength of this outpouring is not lost to God’s movement for just peace among all peoples.

At the forefront of that support are strong and courageous actions from Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world for which we are profoundly grateful. Their graciousness inspires us to continue working for the day when Christians speak up as boldly for the human rights of thousands Iraqis still detained illegally by the United States and United Kingdom.

Such an outpouring of action for justice and peace would be a fitting memorial for Tom. Let us all join our voices on behalf of those who continue to suffer under occupation, whose loved ones have been killed or are missing, and in so doing may we hasten the day when both those who are wrongly detained and those who bear arms will return safely to their homes. In such a peace we will find solace for our grief.

Despite the tragedy of this day, we remain committed to put into practice these words of Jim Loney: “With the waging of war, we will not comply. With the help of God’s grace, we will struggle for justice. With God’s abiding kindness, we will love even our enemies.” We continue in hope for Jim, Harmeet and Norman’s safe return home safe.
R.J. Eskow has more. I commend his blog post especially because he speaks of the media attention given to Christians who do things like this, and for the attention Mr. Fox's capture drew from people like Rush Limbaugh. Kierkegaard was right:

Admirers are only too willing to serve Christ as long as proper caution is exercised, lest one personally come in contact with danger. They refuse to accept that Christ's life is a demand. In actual fact, they are offended by him. His radical, bizarre character so offends them that when they honestly see Christ for who he is, they are no longer able to experience the tranquillity they so much seek after. They know full well that to associate with him too closely amounts to being up for examination. Even though he says nothing against them personally, they know that his life tacitly judges theirs.
But this is a time for mourning. From the Carmina Gadelica:

Thou goest home this night to thy home of winter,
To thy home of autumn, of spring, and of summer;
Thou goest home this night to thy perpetual home,
To thine eternal bed, to thine eternal slumber.

Sleep thou, sleep, and away with thy sorrow,
Sleep thou, sleep, and away with thy sorrow,
Sleep thou, sleep, and away with thy sorrow;
Sleep, thou beloved, in the Rock of the fold.

Sleep this night in the breast of thy Mother,
Sleep, thou beloved, while she herself soothes thee;
Sleep thou this night on the Virgin's arm,
Sleep, thou beloved, while she herself kisses thee.

The great sleep of Jesus, the surpassing sleep of Jesus,
The sleep of Jesus' wound, the sleep of Jesus' grief,
The young sleep of Jesus, the restoring sleep of Jesus,
The sleep of the kiss of Jesus of peace and of glory.

The sleep of the seven lights be thine, beloved,
The sleep of the seven joys be thine, beloved,
The sleep of the seven slumbers be thine, beloved,
On the arm of the Jesus of blessings, the Christ of grace.

The shade of death lies upon thy face, beloved,
But the Jesus of grace has His hand round about thee;
In nearness to the Trinity farewell to thy pains,
Christ stands before thee and peace is in His mind.

Sleep, O sleep in the calm of all calm,
Sleep, O sleep in the guidance of guidance,
Sleep, O sleep in the love of all loves;
Sleep, O beloved, in the Lord of life,
Sleep, O beloved, in the God of life!

Blessed, indeed, are the peacemakers,
They shall be known as God's children.

[update: Waiting in the Light, Tom Fox's blog]

May God's peace be with his friends and family.

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