What do you do when the world has lost its mind, when the adolescent boys who have acceded to power well beyond their capacity to know how to exercise it wisely excitedly decide to engage in high stakes games, exploding industrial strength fireworks to impress each other over who’s got the biggest dick?
How does one peacefully and lovingly respond to the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) and to the random and apparently pointless attacks on airbases in countries whose refugees from the violence you supposedly are confronting have consistently been denied refuge in your own country - the very country whose behaviors in large part gave rise to their sufferings in the first place? How do you respond to states seeking to engage in deadly marathons, the serial killing of its most serious offenders, racing against time to beat the expiration dates of lethal chemicals, a deadly game in which scoring final points before the clock runs out - measured in corpses - becomes the ultimate goal?
What do you do with this kind of insanity?
Perhaps you begin by rejecting playing by the rules of these agents of death, refusing to take them seriously. Perhaps you turn off your television with its excited corporate sponsored cheerleading of that violence to engage in acts of resistance seeking to transform the Mother of All Bombs and all these instrumentalities of death into means of life.
Perhaps you go to your kitchen and mindfully and prayerfully prepare the Mother of All Soups (MOAS), offering to a violence weary world saturated with death the warm and gentle gift of life.
You begin with the wonderful vegetables cooked by a cherished friend from high school who took the time to go to the Webster’s Farmer’s Market to select them for you. You mix them with your own Peruvian blue potatoes and garlic, onion and red pepper. You toss in the collard greens from the vegetarian restaurant where you had lunch with a dear old colleague today. For good measure, you throw in a can of Winn-Dixie Tomato Soup. And you bring it all to a low boil.
Now you say your prayers of gratitude. And then you and your beloved life partner of 42 years scoot Saidy, your beloved beagle, off the couch and sit down to eat.
In this small act of loving but resolute resistance, you hold up the power of Love, the power of Life, the power of Hope and you shake it in the very face of Fear and Death.
Love is stronger than death.
Within minutes the insanity of the world begins to drift away. You and your life partner savor your soup. And you begin to thankfully envision all the hands that touched that produce, bringing it to your plate this night starting with the farmers who sewed the seed that produced these vegetables and continuing to the beautiful loving friend who chose the vegetables at market and cooked them for your lunch and then insisted you take home heaping plates of leftovers.
In between those beginning and ending points, your thankful heart remembers the farm workers who weeded, watered and fertilized the vegetables, who braved the insects, the pesticides, the alligators, snakes and thunderstorms. You are grateful to those who harvested the vegetables, loaded them into trucking containers, who drove them to market and who laid them out for display at the market for shoppers.
And you prayerfully bear in mind your own privilege in knowing that many – perhaps most - of those people probably did not earn a living wage in that process, some because of the neo-slave system of labor with its artificially deflated wages that marks a market economy, others nearly literally slaves because of the arbitrary rules on who can cross the socially constructed lines called international borders. These are the same people who, even as they provide the labor which feeds our nation, live in fear of being ripped from their families and forcibly moved back across those same imaginary lines alone - but never until you and I are finished digesting the fruits of their labors.
On this night Jesus lies lifeless in a tomb, awaiting the first rays of morning’s light to spring back to life, G_d’s justice over the powers of Death itself. On this night of death and suffering, I remember all those whose lives are stunted when the image of G_d they bear is not respected, these little ones that Jesus loved so dearly and gave his life for, these little ones whose labor my own life of unearned privilege far too often takes for granted.
This night I give thanks for my friend’s generosity in inviting me to dine with her and her husband on Good Friday, going to market, carefully choosing and cooking my vegetable dinner. In its abundance, there was so much left over that it became the starting point for the Mother of All Soups, our evening repast this eve of the Resurrection, and these bittersweet
reflections which have ensued.
Love is stronger than Death, even the death Empires seek to hurriedly mass produce on cruciform platforms in execution chambers with deadly chemicals reaching expiration dates, blood thirsty states in a region of the country with the temerity to call itself “the Bible Belt.” Love is stronger than the imperial fire of death which rains down from the skies, this time onto the former handiwork of one’s “security” agencies, the caves and tunnels occupied by those recruited as allies but now seen as enemies. And love is stronger than the death publicly and shamefully inflicted by Empires on would be messiahs upon wooden crosses bearing imperial propaganda adding insult to injury (This is Jesus, King of the Jews – and this is what happens to anyone who would claim to be king in Caesar’s empire) hoping in vain that this will be the last it hears of this utopian Kingdom of G_d that so readily draws the brutality of this Empire - and all Empires - into sharp contrast.
Love is what gives us hope in the face of insanity of imperial blood lust, of the saber rattling of the insecure and the bombing attacks which seek in vain to reassure them. Love is what compels us to transform the deadly Mother of All Bombs into the life-giving Mother of All Soups. Love is stronger than death. And in every case, death is never the final word.
Tomorrow we celebrate that good news.
Harry Scott Coverston
If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.
Most things worth considering do not come in sound bites.
For what does G-d require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G-d? (Micah 6:8, Hebrew Scriptures)
© Harry Coverston 2017