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Friday, August 7, 2015

Reflections on the the 70th anniversary of bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

8/2





Normally,. I like to focus on just one of the morning's passages, but this Sunday, I can’t resist spending time with David in  2 SAMUEL 11:26-12:13A.  It’s the marvelous story where the prophet Nathan engages his king, David, asking with a parable about a man and  his beloved lamb and a rich man who seizes it. When David responds. As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; 6he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. Nathan thunders You are the man!....David realizes the  wrong he has done, but there will be a heavy price to pay. For generations.

This was written either during the time of monarchy expressing  a distrust of kings or critique or written during the  exile looking back as of this kind of kingly behavior were the cause of the exile. …for certain it is part of the deuteronomic history arc…and is written more to critique the situation current when it was written than an intention to record FACTS.

The parable is rooted in tribal law…it was permissible to slaughter a neighbor’s livestock when rules of hospitality made it absolutely necessary…but not permissible if you had livestock yourself and if the animal were a personal pet….

The word used to describe David’s action, IE,  take is used repeatedly in 1Samuel8: 11-18 used as verb when king is subject…it always refers to a ruler's abuse of power
In  the Septuagint, the lamb is to be restored 7 fold, as per Proverbs 6;31.

 Nathan, speaking further to David, says Your master’s house, your  better master’s daughters were turned over to you. (Entry into a harem was one way of claiming power, to be greater, more potent than the one you are replacing,) His point was that God had given David all the women he could want but he wanted one who belonged to someone else…

For this, a sword would be come : His sons Amnon, Absalom and Adonijhah will all die by the sword.

David is told to put away your sin: put it off…David won’t die, but someone else will, the innocent unborn child. (I wonder about connections here with early Christian theology..?)

And of course I am Remembering Ray Swartzbach, my pastor at Westminster, College of Wooster when I was there   and Bill Coffin, Jr. when I was at Yale. The passage sounds so so much more dramatic with the King James version, Thou art the man…For Swartzbach, this was a parable for Vietnam, for Coffin, Central America. That’s what empire does, it takes what it wants.

Two things I will say about David…he does have a residual sense of right and wrong….also on the personal side, this is a dramatic story of what happens when lust, desire, obsession takes over…and everything else is secondary….when desire replaces awareness of God…also…and I’ve found this true…whenever you hear yourself saying I’d sell my soul for….that’s usually what it will cost you….

Our PSALM 51:1-12 in most Bibles is tied to David after the Bathsheba incident. It's what we sing to begin every Lenten season: Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within my soul…Later we find 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. I wonder if we can say that in today’s environment of black lives matter?


Our SECOND READING  EPHESIANS 4:1-16.
1I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
7But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8Therefore it is said, "When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people."PSALM68:18 God receives gifts…) 9(When it says, "He ascended", what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry,(DIAKONIA--serving) for building up the body of Christ, 13until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. (THE BASIC MISSION OF CHURCH) 14 must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.

There is no specific incident being referred to here as is usual…but is directed to gentiles,,,so that they can be socialized into new reality, a new community 

My question for you is What is your gift, how are you using it? I get some pretty cool answers mainly related to serving….the answers are relational…

The question for us as a church is, Are we equipping the saints?  Are we building up the body? The result of which will be UNITY…

Can we speak the truth in love to one another? Now that takes real discernment…I’ve often heard it used as an excuse to hurt…
ALL of us together are needed to make ONE body….building itself up in love. And that we will celebrate when we share our communion together.

And that we do.




Yumi Tanaka, TK and Pastor Brashear





TK has been upstairs in Mc Alpin setting up for the afternoon film screening. Yumi Tanaka of the New York Peace Film Festival introduces the film from Oliver Stone’s Showtime series, The Untold Story of US history.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Stone%27s_Untold_History_of_the_United_States The film pretty much gives the lie to the idea that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was necessary to get the Japanese to surrender. (The invasion of the Red Army into Manchuria had sealed that outcome..) As a quarter of a million innocent non-combatant victims perished, it seems more than anything a demonstration conducted to put fear into the hearts of the Soviets. Show them what we are capable of.
welcome to the exhibition

My father always believed Harry Truman kept him from going to Japan. This would be very painful for him to accept. (My son Daniel in Dublin wonders what we never talk about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.) TK has as always, put together a fine program  rich in its depth. Paule Saviano’s photo exhibit of survivors is presented again. (https://vimeo.com/15844700) and installation artist Natsuko also grace our building. I’m glad that we could continue to be part of this event even in a small way. 70 years since we unleashed this terror.
Looking up mat a Natsuko installation
Natsuko installation


Later, after our volunteer night at the homeless shelter, I see Anna on the steps. Haven’t seen her in a while. Good to catch up. She’s what Jane Jacobs calls eyes on the street, one of those people necessary for communities to survive . As she watches, she looks, she listens. And that is a gift….
May peace and justice be with us....

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