My Psalm 43
This week a large aircraft crashed to the ground killing all two hundred and ninety-plus people aboard. To those firing the missile, these deaths are a sign of strength, their strength. To the Russian government who encouraged their forming their renegade group, trained them, outfitted them, and provided the missile that brought down the aircraft, these deaths are a sign of ill-conceived power. To the Dutch people, from whence most of the passengers came, these deaths are an outrage, most particularly since the Netherlands is an ally of Russia, a viable trade partner that enables Russia’s economy. To the Australians, the home country of the next highest number of casualties, these deaths are evidence of unfocused greed. Those who supported the United Soviet Socialist Republic, the USSR, feel these deaths should be blamed on the government of the Ukraine which, they propose, is unable to govern itself and therefore should be annexed back by Russia which is seen as a move to reincorporate the soviet states into a newer USSR.
To the families of the casualties, these deaths are a great personal tragedy. Over one hundred of the passengers on the ill-fated Malaysian aircraft were on their way to a conference in Australia. The conference was to be a marketplace of scientific information, a global conversation and data exchange whose sole purpose was to eradicate a disease that has stricken humans on every continent and every country in every age bracket and of both genders and all ethnicities. The death of these scientists and medical professionals makes these deaths a global tragedy and turned the conference into a marketplace of grief.
Even in the time of the New Testament, the first century ACE, festivals and scientific conferences were opportunities for what today is termed “networking”. The politics of these events often focus on the “haves and the “have-nots”. John 5:1-18 supports that idea. Usually, the only guaranteed interests being served are those of the event organizers. Sadly in the case of the downed aircraft, it is felt that the Soviet-favored band of rebels hit the aircraft only by accident – a lucky shot in the dark.
The scripture mentions the “invalids” and certainly to those firing the missile, the airline passengers were just that. They were insignificant; their presence had no real validity and so, it was no real loss that their lives were taken. While the world’s powers are asking for retribution and punitive action, perhaps what each of us should ask is the relationship between the available resources – both of the rebels, the bickering governments of Ukraine and Russia, the aftermath recovery and investigations, the faith communities of the world, the global communities and the global response, accountability, and our own response and individual decisions about personal missions henceforth regarding such.
For those living in parts of the world suddenly free from oppression, freedom requires a change in identity. No matter that the change would ultimately be healthier, freer, and provide a better life overall, it is still a very drastic change. Many people would rather live with the evil they know than put all their trust and lives in an uncertain future. They simply have no experience in knowing how to trust themselves. They have no experience in allocating value to human life, theirs and those of others. All life to them exists only to provide them their immediate needs. Although there was a very real chance that some of those on that fated plane carried the beginnings of the answer to the HiV and AIDS problems of the world, they were seen as invalid to those camped out and firing a missile into the sky. They continue to be invalids even in death by the disrespectful lack of honor shown to their corpses and the families of those who perished.
We all pass by invalids every day, whether it is the rude person in line who may have just come from a parent’s death bed or that aggressive driver who cut us off because he was too concerned with how to pay the electric bill. We pass by the invalids who are homeless and smelly and frown at children of poverty who somehow ended up in public but display no manners because they parents were too stoned or tired from working three jobs to teach them. These invalids are far too easy to ignore, to not see, or cross the street to avoid.
Most of us awoke to the news of the aircraft tragedy and then responded to another person about it. Did our response give evidence to our faith? Was there compassion for the dead and their loved ones or did we only judge and condemn? Our response to such events tells the world if it is insignificant. Most importantly, our actions show whether or not our faith is insignificant.
My Psalm 43
I hurt, O God.
I needed you.
I cannot control what is happening.
Where are you, O Father?
Send me your mercy, dear Lord.
Send me your Light and your Love.
Let them all guide me to you.
You are the way and I want to follow.
Yours, O Lord, is the power to overcome.
I know not why this happened
Or why you left me here.
My confidence in you is sure.
You are my God, O Father.
In you is my trust.