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A Call to Duty (or the Book of Job revisited)
by David Sparenberg
2013-10-09 13:32:18
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If God forgives the world for Auschwitz, I who am not God do not forgive the world for Auschwitz.  Not for the first child murdered, not for the first mother ravaged, who witnessed the depravity of human horror and hell, not for the final starving and enslaved body rendering skin and bones unto smoke and ashes.

If God forgives the world for Hiroshima, I who am not God do not forgive the world for Hiroshima.  Not for the blinding flash of mass murder light, not for the unearthly bubble of annihilating heat, not for the mushrooming cloud of feasting death, under which, in a blink, a city disappeared and shadow fell with adamantine eternity over the future of everyone, everywhere, to a limitless unborn hereafter.

If every act of violence, each individual murder, each war crime and every singular atrocity of terror, is overlooked, absorbed into cosmic silence, as God turns his back and vanishes ever further into an astronomical non-locality, I who am not God, resisting invisibility, will run toward the vanishing point, stand in chaos behind the hunchback in that foreboding shadow, even before the stupid, insolent and indifferently plastic face of humanity, and cry out loudly.  My outcries will be screams, my screams will be prayers, shrill prayers, my prayers convulsive groans and tears, spilling into torrent, blood drops over the desert of Darfur, blood-rain across the sarin gas swamps and cement rubble of Syria. And the blood falling: may it catch solar-flame, setting fire to the wings of alienated angles who have become lethargic because of human cruelty, setting fire to sleeping watchers and to the ancient but declawed and toothless guardians of time and

If there is general forgetfulness, I will remember and if God forgets us because of us, I will remind God against deafness that we are here—that in these ruins there may yet grow a flower, a child’s innocence, the silver of playful laughter, or a word, unspoken-word, and something gentle and good that has not yet occurred across the killing fields of earth, not plotted against or targeted before this moment, that might with less certainty than a rainbow become possible.  And once possible, become important.

But if forgiveness is ever to be—even to happen here in a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand years—there must be repentance and for every injustice an act of kindness, and for each life destroying assault two or more life affirming acts of mending, and for every crime and every violence, a conversion of crime and violence into the spontaneities of love.

And if God is dead, because God wasted in sickness and was too long tortured by us, by our crookedness, our spite and cleverness, our dishonesty, yet I who am not God am asking God to expect more, to turn again back toward us, face forward, and for God to resurrect God from the history of failure and reveal to us how resurrection as interstellar event begins.

Because—in the shudder of mortal vulnerability I confess—images of terrified children are indelible. Because—in the shudder of mortal vulnerability—images of massacred children are haunting, rolling like a tsunami across the universe.  Because images of refugees, the nervous, the frightened, the anxious, the hungering, shivering and dying of thirst, are a haboob that swallows the soul in dust-devils and forces breathing to become bitter in anguish and difficult.  Because images of young men killing and being killed in one another’s hatred, in the red fog of war, in fear and in rage, spreads darkness that wounds and cries out for mother, and invades the heart with the venom of manmade death.

Even if I must, if I must, stand out alone on a narrow ledge, at the edge where hope can only dream in agony—there, already, I am standing.  Waiting for heaven’s stars above us to fall and rise again.  Waiting for the weapons to become more accursed than the taking of life. Waiting for a cosmic psalm, or a song, or simply for footsteps.

David Sparenberg
29 September 2013

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