Any normal human being could not easily get over with those images of mangled lives. I haven’t. I cried while listening to Jessica Soho’s official Network statement on the tragedy, asking every viewer of the choices at hand: peace or violence. Part of the tears was grieving with the grieving; a segment of those, for the enactment of human being’s capacity for demonic control, a reversal of how Godly we are capable of. Thank God for tears: when human suffering becomes absolutely absurd and enigmatic, tears seem to hold the bewilderment and the tension, alluring the human psyche and soul into some deeper cry for justice and strength only the tearful God on the cross could catch. It feels this way in the silence of a prayer: “God, what’s going on in this Christian country? Why, after 2 thousand years of ongoing Self-disclosure, must the violence of the crucifixion continue?”
I am learning it is more potent to honestly listen to the questions in daily silence. It is more long-term a political solution than some quick, defensive, rational answers that turn chatterers basely comical and detestable. In the honesty that Silence demands, it is safe to go naked without high-powered guns, paid goons and prestige, social influence, mansions, or fat bank accounts. Silence’s simplest and steepest demand is to cultivate total dependence on Someone, and not on something or someone.
So here i am, at the threshold of one of the loveliest seasons i often savor so religiously – Advent. I revel in the progression of the lighting from one candle to the community of 4 before Christmas. The Advent wreath reminds me so much of the hedge of God’s protection within this period or other times of waiting: it is safe to wait at bus lines, in malls and markets, for some commodities prayed for to arrive because God’s hedge of protection is always around me. Nothing is outside of God, not even death or evil deeds.
Aha! But here i am also, dragging those images of evil into Advent’s beginning. I contend the question is rather not “Why” but “Why not”. Hear this from Luke today:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
How hair-raising a colossal of turbulence and restructuring of the cosmos! Beyond what we can imagine. Coming in a cloud with power and great glory is the Son of Man.
The Gospel of Luke was written after the Roman destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the center of Jewish civilization, in 70AD. The destruction utterly torn apart the Jewish identity, shattering whatever peace and hopes they had for a new world order. It was a deep, searing wound on the Jewish psyche that Christian writers like Luke had picked up and turned this into a “2012” narrative in the context of the second coming of Christ.
So i enter Advent with scary images of the Last Days and the massacre in Maguindanao. The Maguindanao destruction was no less searing and painful than the destruction of the Temple: it cuts deep into our democratic identity and national psyche; it mirrors the violence of the First Century; it showcases the daily Satanic subtleties of warlordism and self-centeredness only to erupt at an uncontrollable time. The Jews must have shed tears and the early Christians must have hoped high. So do i and many others. Still, i will light my first candle of hope and waiting for justice and the best of politics.
Photo credit: zik “Tay”