On Dec 14 2012 20 children and 6 teachers were murdered. My choir, the Illumni Men’s Choral, had a concert that very evening, a Christmas Concert. How do we sing of Christmas in the midst of such tragedy. This is my…
Meditation on the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary
REJOICE !!!. The Hymn says. REJOICE !!!
And yet it is hard to rejoice. Innocent Children die at the hand of a person that we are most comfortable calling “Mad”, because we cannot understand “why?”.
REJOICE !!!! the Hymn Says. But how can the parents, who must bury their child, the joy of their hearts, the expectation of their dreams, who are going though the worst thing a parent can go though, rejoice?
REJOICE !!!! the Hymn almost demands. But how can our communities rejoice that will never know the contribution of the little ones who now lie dead?
This is much more like the Carol that is proper to the days of Christmas (Dec 28th or 29th, depending on which calendar you keep), the Coventry Carol. “Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.” Indeed we must celebrate these young lives that have been cut off; and I can think of no better time than the Feast of the Holy Innocents.
REJOICE !!! the Hymn remonstrates.
How can we rejoice when there is so much pain? The poet muses about that in one of our Christmas Carols: “And in despair I bowed my head; there is no peace on earth I said, for hate is strong and mocks the song of Peace on Earth good will to men.
REJOICE!!! the Hymn almost mocks
There is no sense to the violence that has visited us. It is an insult to truth to assign it a meaning. How can we rejoice?
And yet when we look at that hymn, it speaks of exile, of mourning, of a captivity that needs God Himself to come and undo. As we mourn the fallen innocents, we also mourn our own fallen innocence. It touches the tender part of us that does its best to trust in a world that cannot be trusted. It is that part of us, the part that is still child like, that feels the wound most deeply. We feel the violence done to these dear ones deeply in ourselves. On some level we share in that wound, a wound that is not easily healed
The Hymn acknowledges all that, and still confronts us: REJOICE !!!!
Sometimes “REJOICE” is an act of defiance.