Friday, July 08, 2005


Psalm 111
Journal entry dated July 8, 2005

"He has sent redemption to his people."

In this psalm, redemption is connected to God's works, including that of giving to his people "the lands of other nations." Redemption for one group often looks like destruction and annihilation for another. A redemption that means new hope, new possibility for one people means ethnic cleansing, reservations, refugee camps, and displacement for another. And these uprooted peoples will eventually seek their own redemption. War is a conflict of opposing redemptions.

Although we claim to believe in a universal God, we are not really very different from the worldview of the psalms, where God is more or less a national deity and redemption means victory for our side, redemption for "us not them." Is it possible for us to envision a redemption more universal in scope, a redemption from war and violence rather than through them? In what ways does the redemption I am pursuing--my personal quest for security, stability, and happiness--create insecurity, instability, and suffering for others?

The search for redemption is an ache, a yearning for a pathway out of a world in which it seems there are no good choices, in which we cannot choose food and clean water enough for everyone, and shelter and security for all. Any redemption that scatters human flesh across the streets of London or New York or Baghdad or Kabul is no redemption at all. It is a false path, leading back to where we started.

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