Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Amber Alert in New Jersey Tonight

Tonight, this very cool night
In the state of New Jersey
A mother sits with angst
Amidst clouds of un-certainty
She grapples and swoons between hope and fear
Those two wings that Rumi [a] bespoke of
The siblings perhaps questioning
What has this world come to?
It could have been us, you or me
Why such loss, why such absence
Why such suffering, O Merciful God

The father beckoned to the call
Of a masculinity, that calls for stoicness
O you people of the World
You and your masquerading
Grant him the space of his humanity
To share his grief with his wife
With his children, indeed human we are
Out of this shared sense of grief
Will rise a family to meet all odds

Is it any different from the night
When the immaculate ones [b] worshipped
Under the stars and the moonlight
Knowing well of their fate tomorrow
Such was the certainty, that the Doyen
Of the Martyrs, offered them a safe passage
In the darkness and the safety of the night
Those very sand dunes of Karbala, in Iraq
Where the darkness and the night bespoke
Of a safety, used together, in unison
In opposition to the eveil that lurks
When both are mentioned, ah, such is fate

So, here we are then
Two faiths
Grappling with the human dimension of loss
In the backdrop of a Merciful Lord
Of a Merciful Creator and Sympathizer
My heart goes out to you, O mother
O Father
O Children
O Siblings

But you will prevail
This evil will not
It will succumb to the human spirit
Infused with His Will and Power

Its is an Amber Alert Tonight
Tears roll down my cheeks
They are warm, as I wipe them
I know they come from the heart
Of "all" believers, all "faithfuls"
In the resiliency of the human Spirit
Of the pulsating beat of the heart

It needs no reminder to the tragic
Loss, before Husayns own eyes
Of his Children, yet prevailed he did

It needs no reminder to the tragic
Loss, of Jesus on the Cross
And be assured, that the cross is
What symbolizes our faith [c] in Jesus
That we are lent to suffer
But under his shadow everything perishes

For the love and the sake of the family of Muhammad and Muhammad
For the love and the sake of Jesus and his immaculate mother, Maryam

Descend Mercy and Grace to the Amber Alert household
You are not alone, tonight, you never will be
Never when an Amber alert goes out

[a] A Sufi poet from Turkey

[b] Reference to the family of Muhammad, the Prophet, his grandson, al-Husan in the sands of Karbala, in current day Iraq

[c] Christian faith

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Hidden Spring and Our Modern Condition

There was once a powerful dictator who ruled his country with an iron will. Every aspect of life was thought through and worked out according to a rational system. Nothing was left to chance.

The dictator noticed that the water sources around the country were erratic and in some cases dangerous. There were thousands of springs of water, often in the middle of towns and cities. They could be useful, but sometimes they caused floods, sometimes they got polluted and often they burst out in new places and damaged roads, fields and houses.

The dictator decided on a sensible, rational policy. The whole country, or at least every part where there was any suggestion of water would be paved over with concrete so thick that no spring of water could ever penetrate it. The water that people needed would be brought to them by a complex system of pipes.

For many years the plan worked fine. All seemed to be well. Then without warning the springs that had gone on bubbling and sparkling beneath solid concrete could no longer be contained

We in the Western world are the citizens of that Country. The dictator is philosophy that has shaped our world for the past two centuries making most people materialists by default. And the water is what we call today "spirituality", the hidden spring that bubbles up within human hearts and human societies

Excerpted from: Belief: Readings on Faith, N. T. Wright, p. 9-10, Harper One