And what happens after the wars end?
When we survey the damage, bury our dead
and tend to our wounded?
Where, and how do we begin to rebuild?
How, when so much strength has been spent
hating, do we learn again to love?
To Trust? Not just each other,
but our own hearts?
How do we fight the urge to succumb
or continue the wars long after they have ended?
How do we stop our sniper shots in the night?
When war has been your normal,
how do you set it aside and learn
to become something new?
About this poem
After over 20 years of fighting, not always nicely, over the LGBTQ issue, the Methodists have come up with a plan to separate into two denominations. It still has to be voted on, but it shows promise and willingness to put the wars behind us and just allow each side to worship and serve. For me, as someone on what you might call the more liberal side of the church, this is good news. It is what spawned this poem.
But as is usually the case, the poem has multiple meanings. I think about recent events in the news, as things have come undone again in the Middle East and we see huge crowds in Iran and Iraq, fueled by anger and hate. I think of our personal relationships, divorces, estrangement between children and parents.
The hate is easy to understand. It is a natural, human reaction. But how do we move past it? It takes something more than our own efforts. It takes a new thing, not our natural tendencies.
Isaiah 43:9 reads “Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
It is my prayer this morning.