Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry;
give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
I'm not a bad person. I would never murder someone. Unless someone brutally murdered my children in front of me, maybe. (Maybe?)
From you let my vindication come;
let your eyes see the right.
If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,
if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;
my mouth does not transgress.
But no one would ever do that. Unless I lived in Gaza, maybe. But those passengers on that Malaysian flight weren't in a warzone.
Guard me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who despoil me,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They track me down; now they surround me;
they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
They are like a lion eager to tear,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.
Things aren't like that in the United States. We're lucky enough to have strong forces to keep enemies at bay. If anything, people fear our power, not we theirs.
Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them!
By your sword deliver my life from the wicked
Overthrow whom? Who counts as "the wicked"?
The one who seeks revenge for the unjust murder of their families?
The one who watches it all from a distance and thanks her God that she doesn't have to live in such fear and devastation?
Today is Nelson Mandela Day. Nelson Mandela would have been 96 today. We need his prophetic voice in the midst of violence, on the one hand, and indifference and isolationism, on the other. We, especially those of us who do not live in fear, need to take a long, hard look inward and see how we cultivate violence within ourselves. We need to see how we are like our neighbor, so we might love them, so we might help them, and so we might risk inviting them and ourselves to live in radical peace.
We are all human, after all. This violence--this indifference--must end.