How often we come together to mourn and grieve the lives lost in the service of annihilation. Now surely Osama bin Laden the treacherous leader, the blackguard of the terrorists, the bogeyman of past high alerts security warnings has been slain by guns by our soldiers. And was that the final killing? Can there be a final killing?
As Buffy St Marie said in her song Universal Soldier’ without them all this killing can’t go on.’ And we stand at a memorial to honor their deaths. I want to honor their lives and abhor their deaths. I want them with their families doing work to preserve the earth rather than fighting with guns.
And of course our soldiers are brave. Of course they are valiant and true and of course they believe in ideals and sometimes the soldiers just need a job. I remember 20 yrs ago at the First Gulf war when I exclaimed, ’What! This is 1990. Haven’t they got the message that war is no longer an option?’ I knew and you knew that war is no way to live.
Those who know that peace is possible have known this for centuries. Maybe there were fewer of them in the past and now our number is growing. And now perhaps the need for justice at home is calling even those who demanded retribution for 9/11. Maybe those who are awakening to the call for US out of Afghanistan are called by concerns other than the 5th commandment – Thou Shalt Not Kill.
Maybe people are finally connecting the dots that the dreams they have for their own families for education and the dignity of a good job are swallowed up by a bloated defense budget and other corporate greed. Hey, maybe there are other ways to provide defense. So more people are know the awakening isn’t fast enough for some of us and we want to say – Ah but that’s not the whole truth yet. There’s more true justice to be served. There’s more to be done. Many people are still suffering at the hands of power-hungry outlaws who as Leonard Cohen says, “killers in high places say their prayers out loud.” And those outlaws are in born of the spirit of greed and fear. Can we assuage our own greed and fear so that we don’t need giant projections of them on the backdrop of life? We are the source of the problem. We have met the enemy and he is us. And we are the solution. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Yes, I agree that the work is not done, and I agree that it is not fast enough to stop the killing. And yet can we take one moment right now and every day to give thanks for some events in our recent history – incomplete as it is for it is a sign of a great turning, a new beginning. I’m talking about health care reform, a reduction of some nuclear weapons in the Start treaty with Russia, Egypt taking charge of its destiny. Our collective desire for peaceful means is changing things little by little, and the times they are a changing too. Can we take one moment and give thanks that we are moving in the right direction. Take a moment and thank yourselves for all the choices that you have made and the actions you have taken that have you standing here tonight and all the thoughts you have thought to create a more just world.
Slouching towards Bethlehem towards the birth of us. And in the moment of gratitude can we know that we are no longer voices in the wilderness but voices joining with others for so many reasons—reasons coming together in a stream of consciousness s that honors life and knows that human needs for security, family food and home can be provided in other ways than by paying for protection with our strong-armed forces to ensure that we have them. And that all beings on the Earth deserve these things and loving kindness.
And can we know that our job—as knowers of the truths that all beings are created equal and inheritors of a land currently free enough to make changes happen—must continue to speak and act from our intelligence and our experience and mostly from our hearts. The time calls for all this plus the wisdom to think positively, to think about the world that we want to create we oppose, not the world we would leave behind. Imagine that war is over. Imagine all the people living life in peace.
As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Each time a man stands for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Imagine all of us working together and bringing down the walls. I always like the idea of song bringing down the walls like Jericho falling from trumpets so maybe our music and our voices will make that step.