Sunday, September 11, 2011

Building a home for all, on solid foundations.

In various ways we are reminded of the truth that despite our different-ness and differences, we are gifts to one another. This day is remembered for the violence and the terror unleashed against unsuspecting and innocent civilians in the USA, but also after that, in Iraq and Afghanistan. We remember the shock and horror as hatred played itself out in front of us. In many instances (too many to mention!) the hatred was justified in the name of religion.

We as religious people often find justification for the hatred we mete out against people who are different from us. We become sophisticated in the ways we exclude those others who come and interrupt our comfort. If anything, the memory of 9/11 and of the so-called 'War on Terror' interrupts these comforts and remind us that we need to consciously build bridges. Unless we consciously build bridges and work against exclusion, we will remain in the vicious cycle, where another volcano bubbling under the surface, may explode any-time. I might sound like a prophet of doom. I am not. What I am (or better, want to be) is some-one who consciously add my effort to build bridges, between people. The healing of memories is critical in order to be able to find in the person on the other side of the fence, a sister or a brother. Hence, I am not one of those who want us to believe that we should forget the history and simply move on. We cannot. The myths of the past will haunt us and the empires that are built on those foundations of sand, will collapse, sooner or later. In building bridges, we start to build our future, based on a new foundation, i.e. the relationships that hold us together. This we do with the view of building a home for all.

It is indeed the message of most religions that its in dreaming of a new world of brother and sisterhood that we find sense on our present struggles. In my faith tradition, we believe that Jesus Christ came to restore not only our relationship with God, but also, that through him, we are reconciled to one another and this good news is embodied in a new alternative household. This is a household, which challenge and transgress worldly borders and separations. It is in living in this new home, that we become a gift to the world.

Of course, for most of our history, we as faith communities have not been this gift to the world. We have supported and sustained exclusion; we have sowed seeds which bear bitter fruit. Today, perhaps we can only pray, God have mercy on us to help building bridges, towards a household for all.
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