As a minister, you might think I’m a pacifist. I am not. When acts of hatred and terror occur, I believe it is our duty to respond to restore a sense of justice. Still, I have found myself very uncomfortable with the celebratory atmosphere around our killing of Osama Bin Laden.
When we are left standing in the wake of our inhumanity to man, such as after the 9/11 attacks, even years later, it is still tempting to compartmentalize suffering into a kind of score sheet of winners and losers. Good if they suffer. Bad if we do. It may do us well to pause and remember that healing takes time and forgiveness even longer. However, just as we discover in our own personal and family relationships, suffering continues until we recognize that nobody really wins until, together, we create ways in which we all win. I see it no differently in our world family.
Instead of isolating to celebrate what is surely only a temporary win, I challenge each of us to stop longer, dig deeper and to join together to forge new paths toward a more lasting peace for all peoples. Let’s ask each other, “What can we do to create a world where such acts of terror are not necessary?” “What can we do to promote understanding and celebrate sameness even as we respect difference?” These are difficult and challenging questions. Still, through the wrestling with them, more meaningful solutions may become our quiet victory.
I do not believe the hearts of Muslims or Jews or Buddhist or Christians are different. Looking beyond difference I see our common humanity, all of us coexisting in a finite world. And, I believe our Infinite Creator would expect nothing less of us than to wrestle with these tough questions and, in doing so, to imagine celebrations that include all of our brothers and sisters.
Rev. Stephanie Rutt
Tree of Life Interfaith Temple