Like so many I wrestled through a complex set of emotions over the last 18 hours. Relief at the news that Osama bin Laden had been at long last apprehended. Proud of the resolve of our president. Anxious about the impact on the fragile state of world affairs. Queasy at the outbreak of triumphalism ... best captured in a comment on this blog:
"I understand a sense of justice being done; I understand a sense of relief, but I was sickened to see celebrations like after a football game. It isn't that the man didn't deserve it – he did – but we have to ask what it does to our own souls when we rejoice at the death even of a clear enemy."And today ... Monday ...is my regularly scheduled day to preside at the Noonday Eucharist in the All Saints Chapel. We usually use the lessons for the upcoming Sunday. But I woke up this morning and reached for my prayer book to reconfigure the service to focus on peace and reconciliation.
For the BCP geeks out there, we're using the Collect the Various Occasions lectionary for Peace for the lessons. And we pulled other various occasion prayers for the prayers of the people ... concluding with the prayer attributed to St. Francis.
I'll read a statement from our rector -- Ed Bacon -- who is on sabbatical but sent words from "away" for the parish and the community. And then we'll gather around the table ... as we do every day at 12:10 and ask God to bless the bread and wine made holy and to send us out into the world as beacons of God's love, justice and compassion.
And at this very moment I am more grateful than I have words to express that I have a liturgical container for all the complicated thoughts, feelings and emotions at this important moment in our nation's life -- and that when the going gets tough I can claim the ancient words of the perfect love that casts out fear preserved for us in our Book of Common Prayer.
Alleluia! Christ is risen
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
(And now I'm off to church!)