Monday, May 02, 2011

A Celebration of Death

The world is abuzz on May 2 with the news of Osama bin Laden's death.  Many of us waited eagerly to hear the unknown from the lips of our President on Sunday night while many awoke on Monday morning to the revelation that the embodiment of terrorism and hatred of America was no more.  In a fallen and imperfect world, sometimes there are no good decisions to make.  The death of bin Laden might have been needed to bring justice to those who suffered loss on September 11, 2001.  For others it may not be justice as much as much as justification that for the last decade our military efforts abroad have not been fruitless.  Perhaps the death of bin Laden restores our belief that when America sets for itself a goal, that goal we will reach.

We could argue that killing Osama bin Laden is an ironic way of showing the world that violence will not be tolerated.  We could say that after ten years, the murder of bin Laden is vengeance more than justice.  We could assert that in ten years of war, the United States is responsible for more innocent lives than bin Laden himself.

I can understand both sentiments.

I don't think the response to bin Laden's death in either case is joy.  Relief, for sure.  Satisfaction, I can understand.  I cannot believe that the proper response to any death is one of Joy.  Even if given that Osama bin Laden deserved this death, that his demise was demanded in the name of justice-- we have just lived through a failure of humanity to be accepted with gravity, not embraced in jubilance.

The only beauty in the story of death lies in the new life it has the potential to bring.  Only in the promise of restoration, reconciliation, resurrection can we ever find hope in death.  May we one day rejoice in celebration of reconciliation.

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