Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sunday Sermon

Blessed are the peacemakers

Matthew 5 (The Beatitudes)

[1] And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
[2] And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

[3] Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

[4] Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

[5] Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

[6] Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

[7] Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

[8] Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

[9] Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

[10] Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

[11] Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

[12] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

[13] Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

[15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

[16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

"Regarding doubts about Sheehan's motives, I asked point-blank, "Did anybody put you up to this?" She quickly responded: "No, it was totally my idea." And explaining why her son re-enlisted, she said that he didn't want to return to Iraq but felt obligated to his comrades."

Afflerbach provides a first hand account of another Sheehan phenomenon that has been reported by others. Sheehan has no fear when she encounters those who disagree with her.

"Phil Kiver, author of 182 Days in Iraq, confronted Sheehan. He believes that it's not possible to oppose the war and support the troops. I watched Sheehan, who is 6 feet tall, push back a microphone and wrap an arm around Kiver's shoulders. After a private conversation, Kiver autographed a copy of his book. Then they hugged."

Was Kiver's mind changed? I don't know. What is important is that Sheehan is willing to speak with people who have different opinions and ideas. Her willingness to expose her ideas to criticism and to embrace those with whom she disagrees stands in stark contrast to the behavior of President Bush and his surrogates in the right wing media.

Cindy Sheehan has given this country a great gift. She has given us permission to ask tough questions. She has allowed us to bring our pain and grief into the open so that we can help each other with those burdens.

"Sadly, I watched two men -- a gray-haired Vietnam veteran and a mustachioed father of a soldier killed in Iraq -- square off. The veteran repeatedly asked if the other man knew what it was like to watch men die in battle for corporate greed. The father of the soldier killed in Iraq asked if he knew how it felt to stand over a dead son's coffin. Pain."

What will happen next? Are pain, suffering and grief the only things upon which we can agree. Or is there more that we can do? It is up to each of us to decide and act.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works............
(Photo Timothy, Glen Ellyn, IL) (Bible quotes from the King James version)