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I lost a son,

4 Jul

Earlier this week I wrote about a woman in Israel whose son was kidnapped-this is how the blog began:

Ms. Fraenkel had her son Ayala taken from the West Bank a little over a week ago. He is a teen ager. She lives in Nof Ayalon. No one knows who has taken him and two others. No one knows if they are hurt; dead or alive. Ms. Fraenkel’s response in the NY Times today is telling, spiritual, and full of wonder,

‘I have a spiritual world, but it doesn’t lessen any pain and it doesn’t promise me anything because God doesn’t work for me,” she said. “It’s not some kind of trick that if I pray hard enough, he’ll just show up.’</em

Today on July 4th a Palestine woman lost her son; abducted early in morning; forced into a car and killed. Here is an excerpt from 2 July
NY Times,
Sitting in an enclosed porch surrounded by male mourners, Hussein Abu Khdeir, Muhammad’s father, who owns an electrical appliance store, said he had spent eight hours with police investigators. Tired and unshaven, he said that he had not been allowed to see his son’s body, which was at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, but that investigators had identified it by matching DNA samples taken from the saliva of both parents.

“I don’t expect any results,” he said of the investigation.

Muhammad, who was studying at a vocational school to be an electrician, was the fifth of seven children, three sons and four daughters.

“I am against kidnapping and killing,” his father said. “Whether Jew or Arab, who can accept the kidnapping and killing of his son or daughter? I call on both sides to stop the bloodshed

A father whose son was abducted and murdered; whose body was burned to the point that it is unrecognisable asks the only question a parent who has lost a child to violence need ask, speak, listen to and answer: “Whether Jew or Arab, who can accept the kidnapping and killing of his son or daughter? I call on both sides to stop the bloodshed

A man, a father, who has lost deeply can either hate deeply or love deeply. There is no other ground or sea or space. Deeply hate, or deeply love.

Hussein Abu Khdeir enters a dark, a holy place. He sits here with Ms. Fraenkel and all others who walk into such an abyss. They sit. Sit with them today, in prayer, for a holy moment. Listen and pray. Sit with them.

meditation 13: Caravaggio, the ‘peace’ of open hands, fruit of the Spirit

2 Sep


Of the number of Caravaggio’s in Rome, three specific works illustrate peace, and all at a moment of a death. First, above, the Calling of St. Paul. Paul’s eyes are closed; his hands open and empty. His old self, his fleshly self, is dying. His face is peaceful; no grimace. He is open to God’s call; the Lord’s being; not his old, flesh:Saul.

Second,is the image of the deposition of Christ. Here, Jesus’ hands are open, a receiver of death, and a death on the cross. He is empty, Yet -and yet- soon all will fill with the hope of a bodily Resurrection.

Finally, there is the three piece work, It is a three piece altar work, not pictured here,’The Calling of St. Matthew’. Imagine. In the first and last panels of the Call, Matthew, in death, his left hand now opens. Initially, in the first panel, it was closed on his coins from his tax collecting. There, he was a young man, head down, not looking at Jesus’ call, Jesus’ hand beckoning him. Openly, now in peace, a receiver of eternal life. He is receiving. What? ‘(A better resurrection.’ Eternal community with the Father, Son and Spirit. ( Hebrews11:35) With open hands, Matthew, in death, has peace. Peace, a fruit of Spirit.