Just after New Year’s Day this past January, while I was back in Grand Rapids, I walked past a reporter lady from the East Grand Rapids Cadence. She was asking passersby, “what one thing would you like to happen in 2013?” I felt tongue-tied for a full minute before I found myself blurting out “For us not to be in any more wars.” At the time, it almost sounded silly, and when I saw it printed up a few days later, I still wasn’t sure what had prompted me to say that. Oh well. But here we are, in the waning months of 2013, and this week the talk of potential action against Syria will dominate the media. I feel confused, overwhelmed, sorrowful about the news coming out of Syria. I’m not sure I even know enough about the situation to say whether I support a military strike or not.
I’m not sure what a Christian response looks like–how do we follow the ways of the Prince of Peace, love our Syrian neighbors as ourselves, and work for justice at home and abroad…all at once? I am worried that more Americans will care about whatever new products Apple announces tomorrow than will care about how we as a nation proceed in this delicate international situation. I hope I’m wrong. I hope we can pay attention and that some resolution can be reached before too much more blood is shed. I confess that I’ve been so preoccupied with my own business/busy-ness that I’ve hardly taken a moment to sit and pray, I mean really pray, for this whole situation. So that’s all I want to do this morning. I have sat here trying to come up with something wise or insightful or convincing or moving, but the only words that keep coming to mind are the church’s enduring prayer, Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. So yes, today, Lord have mercy. Have mercy on all of us. Have mercy on those who at this moment are living in such deep fear and grief in the middle east. Have mercy on your church, and give us courage to act. Have mercy on all those with political power. Have mercy on the media. Have mercy on Syria, have mercy on all of us. Christ, have mercy.