Last week, we were caught by the brutality of the murders at Charlie Hebdo and the Hypermarket in Paris. Much talk has accompanied these events: facts shared, analysis put forth.
The French have roared back, holding their pencils high, proclaiming ”Je Suis Charlie.” i.e “.You will not overcome us with your terrorist-inspired violence. We are free to speak.” And of course, they are, and we are. The French have a long history of producing and relishing satire as a way of critiquing political figures and movements and alerting the public to potential dangers in the world.
Ken Paulson, writing in the D&C on Sunday, lists courageous people in the US and Europe who have withstood evil in their writing, song-writing, film production, and reporting from the world’s hot spots.Paulson says
“Free speech can lead to threats. And imprisonment. And death. “
Jesus practiced free speech too, and we know what happened. Yet his free speech and action called for acceptance of human dignity, showed the non- partiality of God for all people and called for a kingdom where all would live in peace. When asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, Jesus gave them the “Our Father.” Here is one possible new translation of this prayer from the Aramaic. I offer it here because the vision of Jesus and the nuances in the text apply very much to shaping our minds and hearts as we ourselves consider how to think about the French tragedy and how, following Christ, we can create a culture of encounter rather than a culture of divisiveness and death.
O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us-make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now –
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loosen the cords of mistakes binding us,
As we release the strands we hold
Of each other’s guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
The power and the life to do,
The song that beautifies all,
From age to age it renews.
Truly – power to these statements –
May they be the ground from which all
My actions grow. Amen.
Fresh wind in Our Sails ,Wednesday, January 14: Father Jim Schwartz offers us a pastoral perspective on Suicide. We can say we are not interested but maybe we should be in this time when so many people choose this option for their lives. 7 to 8.30 pm at the SSJ Motherhouse, 150 French Road.