Monday, July 9, 2007

FGC Closing Worship Message

At the closing worship Meeting at the FGC Gathering, there were several powerful messages. One woman stood up, said she was a Quaker from the town of River Falls. She described witnessing two parades coming by her house in the past week. One, she said, inspired her. The other caused her great pain.

The first parade consisted of a unit of the local National Guard, marching off to their Iraq deployment. She described how an army truck led the "parade" and towards the end, there was a soldier who appeared to be in "distress". Two of his fellow soldiers were helping him along, encouraging him. An army truck brought up the rear. (at this point in her message, the word "herding" came to mind)

The second parade passed by her house on July 4th. It was a group of Quakers carrying signs against the war. She said it hurt her because she felt it ignored the humanity of the troops that "have to go to Iraq while their families try to hold it together".

I tried to hear her words, that anti-war signs can be very painful and all to the troops and their families. That this war is hard for families and soldiers. I think there's a small grain of truth there. But as the death toll for US troops and Iraqis continues to climb. As the country is devastated with cluster bombs, white phosporous and starvation. It's clear to all but the murderers in our government, that the war must end. The war there (as with every war, really) is founded on lies to make people like Dick Cheney rich. And send millions of innocents to their deaths. And send thousands, millions of soldiers to die for what? A "noble cause"? Makes me so sick...

And what if more and more troops said NO, and stayed home to be with their loved ones? And what if Bush, Cheney and their ilk were impeached and had to actually face the horror they have brought to this world? Yes, her message brought up pain for me, too. However, if a few protest signs cause pain, it's time to look that pain in the face and speak out, act against this war. Can you say "impeachment"?

One F/friend said it simply and well: "I hear how painful this is for her. But the war is just plain wrong!"


Suzy said...

Of course, as we discussed, how much good did the march through River Falls do? I also tried to listen with an open heart to her message, but part of what I read into it was, her embarrassment at facing her neighbors who know she is a Quaker. (Or am I being unfair?) I wondered why she has not engaged in dialogue with the woman in her van pool. Chances are, this woman is also none too thrilled with how this war is going. Or perhaps, offer help and friendship to this woman.

Silence is deadly. I was doing some archeological digging in one of the many piles of papers on my dining room floor, and came upon this quote I typed up some time ago. (I intend to mount it in my car, a Poodle Doc style bumper sticker.)

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Suzy said...

I liked Ruth's message, that she spends so much time trying to discern God's path for her that she forgets the moment by moment times when she is called to do Divine work.

poodledoc said...

Yes, silence is deadly. I've struggled a bit with the apparent reluctance of the majority of Quakers to take part in stronger non-violent actions. Maybe, sometimes, we are just TOO quiet. Or I see us willing to support someone "else" on the "front lines", but staying back at the Meetinghouse in our safe potlucks with guest speakers and telling ourselves we are doing something. But these things are good action, too. They are part of the Spirit, too. Not everyone can be up front. But we all need to speak out. I think workiing to be a close and supportive friend to the woman in the vanpool would be a strong action. Change happens so slow sometimes, then there's this rapid acceleration. "Support the families, end the war"