News of Usama Bin Laden's death came upon us with force...added to by thinking for a second or two that it was Obama and not Usama. :)
The earthly end of a person so bent on their own agenda that they will sacrifice many of their own and kill as many of the "enemy" as possible.
An evil person indeed.
What has followed as I have watched it is a rather up/down response...some applauding and some wondering what a Jesus' followers response should be.
Blast him Lord, or show mercy?
Bury with dignity or rage?
Try this poetic expression out:
"In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer...
And here is what he prays:
"Appoint a wicked man against him;
When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;
Let his prayer be counted as sin!
May his days be few...may his children be fatherless..."
..and that is only a portion of the vehemence expressed in this, Psalm 109.
And how about this...
"Blessed shall be he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!"
Another Psalm - 137:9
Years ago and again this morning, I am helped by reading from C.S.Lewis' Reflections on the Psalms. He devotes considerable space to these expressions and his thinking is really spot on. Here are a few points from his writing:
1. The culture of the time - very violent
2. The people of this expression - very strong in their sense of right and wrong, and very open. They didn't "hold it in"...as we are trained to do in our time. Their rage is reflective of deep convictions, often more than our quietness.
3. The substance of their imprecatory prayers contain words not perfectly formed, but emotions strongly expressed. Lots of us "careful prayers" could learn much here.
4. The Psalms then are expressions of human rage to a God who does judge, will do all things well, and who sees it all, and will wrap it all up in the end with justice. See Exodus 23:4-5; Leviticus 19:17-18.
In times like this...
1. May we pray not piously, but passionately.
2. May we turn feelings of deep anger into brokenness and acts of mercy.
3. May we seek peace and pursue it.
4. May we forgive and forgive and forgive....70x7, remember?
5. May our behavioral model always be Jesus...a time for anger, but a life of grace.
Working on this with you...