Dear Sor Juana,
The sun snuck through a break in the clouds bringing dawn rays over the thousand odd throng gathered for the commemoration of Anzac Day in my little village of Willunga. The great grand daughter of a local, aptly called Poppy shared some of her family story. Children from the local school sang of biscuits, and shores gird by sea.
This day is the century of an event in our national story that has created a myth around themes of sacrifice and that great Aussie characteristic we call “mateship”. Nationalism is writhing strong in the veins of a country who has just sent troops to ward off the marauding radicals of another generation. It is a mystery to me how Christians can go to war at all, it is so totally against the founder’s vision and even the scripture this morning for the service, as in most years I’ve been is the most powerful benediction – blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. There is plenty of evidence Sor Juana that early Christians took an oath not to fight and one of those first instructions from the founder was to turn the other cheek.
Just like in your time, fundamentalism is the scourge that eats in the human spirit and brings terror; it feeds on fear. Looking for an antidote against intolerance and hatred is surely part of the mission of everyone who wants to follow the Way? It’s not enough to turn the other cheek, I want to build resilience in order to inoculate; to build trust in order to confide, to build cooperation in order to build a culture of sharing.
Listening to the young ones this morning, their quiet voices pitched against the shouting of military commands embodied blessed are the meek. These young ones will inherit the earth, and what kind of earth will we leave as our legacy?
In my current grandmother-in-waiting status I am thinking a lot about what this little boy will be born into and what I will be doing and what I have done to shape the world he will be inheriting. What songs will he sing and stories will he tell? For my part, I am going to try and keep to the instructions from the Mount, look to the skies each day for inspiration and to the horizon to stretch me, all the while knowing it is not enough to turn the other cheek, as it is in the peacemaking that the innocence of a child will reveal the Divine.